17 Join in imitating me, brothers, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. 18 For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things, 20 but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself. –(Philippians 3:17-21, HCSB)
As an adult, I have watched my metabolism drastically effect weight gain. As a teenager, I could eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and never really had to worry about extra pounds. Now, I can tell in a day if I have missed the mark on my calorie intake. I can skip carbonated drinks or sweet tea and watch the pounds go off within days. Every little bit matters.
That’s why around our house we talk about “calories that count.” If we have a certain number of calories we are wanting to consume in a week, we save them for really worthwhile calories. That means that sometimes you hold back on lunch because you really want to eat well at supper. Or maybe I only drink water during the week so that I can really down some sweet tea over the weekend (Southerners, you know what I am talking about).
In this passage, Paul warns us about having our stomachs as our gods. He is referring to living in such a way that we always act upon any urge that comes our direction. If we want it, we get it. The way he combats this false type of freedom is by reminding believers that our citizenship is not on this earth, but heaven.
Sure you can spend your calories on this earth for things that don’t satisfy, or you can remember that there is a grander feast awaiting us one day. If you are struggling with the seduction of this world, acknowledge the temptation is real, but grasp that our prize is so much grander. Hold out for the calories that count. If you are going to enjoy something, make sure you hold back for those things that are truly enjoyable! You are God’s child, your home is heaven, and the rewards there taste way better than the substitutes of this world.