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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Friday-On the Lookout


Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh


Philippians 3:2,3


We’ve all been on the lookout for someone or something. It happens every day. You go to the grocery store and look for what’s on your list. And if you’re like me, most of my looking is for what’s not on my list. I’m continually amazed when I get to the self-checkout scanner at all the things that are NOT on my list that somehow fell into the shopping cart! You go out with someone and, after you get separated, you’re on the lookout for them. Or you go on vacation to the beach with family, you’re continually looking and counting all the children. Over and over you count heads, making sure that they’re all safe.


I remember being the lookout every time I went fishing with my mom and dad. My place was on the bow (the very front) of the boat so that I could be on the lookout for fish jumping out of the water. When I spotted fish “breaking water,” I’d point it out to my dad. He’d move us over to that spot because it was a great sign where to find good fishing.


Paul is telling the Philippians, and us, to watch out for evildoers. We’re to beware of these people because they want to bring evil and sin into our lives. We’re to be constantly looking for and avoiding them. And when Paul calls these evildoers dogs, he’s not talking about our dogs that we cuddle and pet. Or the dogs that are worth any price to feed and take care of. No, these were vicious packs of street dogs that took down the weak. These dirty, smelly, flea-bitten, mangy dogs were more than hated. They were avoided at all costs.


These evildoers that we’re to be on the lookout for aren’t passive about their evil. They don’t just hang around thinking evil thoughts. They’re not even just doing evil that hurts themselves. They want to do more than just distract us. Oh no, they’re actively working at helping evil. They promote others to evil. They’re trying to get as many people to join them as possible. Their goal is to take down everybody they see.


One of the main ways that evildoers try to get our attention and our actively moving away from God is to get us busy. Busy with doing things that take our time and attention off our relationship with God as our heavenly Father The purpose of the “mutilation” is to get our confidence off of God alone and onto our actions. Our activities. Our works. They want to move us from a heavenly Father relationship with God to a heavenly boss connection.


For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.


Ephesians 2:8,9


A heavenly Father relationship is just that, a deeply personal and intimate connection with our Abba, daddy God. It’s based on who he is and what he’s done. It’s all about him. None of us chose our daddy. We’re not connected to him because of anything we did, but because of who he is. We can try to deny who he is, but that doesn’t change the fact of who he is.


This is wildly different from a boss-based bond relationship with God. Like any job, we chose each other. The boss offers the job and we accept. And as long as we keep doing what they want, keeping the rules, things might be ok. But if we stop doing what the boss wants, or if we’re not making enough money for them, we can be fired.


The boss-based bond relationship is more than dependent on us keeping up our part of the bargain. We’ve got to keep up with all the work. All the prayers. All the tasks. All the giving. There is no love with the boss, only demands to keep up. Meet your quota. It’s based on us keeping rules. We’ve got to continually be doing things. All the weight, all the pressure is on us.


When we look to God not as our taskmaster, but as our heavenly daddy, everything changes. We’ll want to worship and serve God by his Spirit. We’ll want to do anything and everything to please the one who loves us. And this kind of Abba, daddy heavenly Father relationship is no longer restricted to the Jews, but open to everyone in and through Jesus[1].


If you look at my LinkedIn profile[2], you’ll see that I’ve had 14 jobs. Some of them ended when I quit. Some ended when the company quit me. Others ended by mutual consent. They all had a beginning and an end. But our great, loving heavenly Father has loved us from eternity past with an everlasting love[3]. He chose us before the creation of the world[4]. He gave his one and only sone because he wants us to have eternal life with him[5]. Now, does that sound like any boss relationship you’ve ever had? What it sounds like is someone who deeply loves you and wants to be with you. To love you. To provide for you. To give themselves to you. Isn’t that the loving relationship you’ve been on the lookout for all your life?


Noodling Questions


  • What things do we enjoy being on the lookout for? On the lookout to avoid?

  • Why is a Heavenly Father relationship so hard to imagine? Experience?

  • Describe a successful Heavenly Father moment. What made it so special?

[1] John 4:23,24

[3] Jeremiah 31:3

[4] Ephesians 1:4

[5] John 3:16

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