A New Epicenter

The One Year Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), December 11

Three epicenters exist from which all people operate or navigate life:

Moralists operate from an epicenter of legalistic righteousness.
The Apostle Paul formerly pursued righteousness by keeping the law. He describes his own law-keeping as faultless: “If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (Phil. 3:4-6, emphasis added). Moralists are simply better than everyone else. They are disciplined and self-righteousness in their discipline. Moralists glory in their flesh—their ability to outperform everyone else (religious, environmentalists, PETA, etc.).

Followers of Christ operate from an epicenter of heaven.
Meeting Christ has given Paul a new epicenter, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (3:20). Because his epicenter is of another world, Paul lives by faith in the coming transformation. This new focus changes his disposition and attitude: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! . . . Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (4:4, 5). It also changes his thought life. He exhorts, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (4:8). Christ-followers glory in the cross and the coming transformation.

Everyone else operates from an earth-bound epicenter.
Paul defines the third epicenter as one of physical appetite: “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is their shame—who set their mind on earthly things” (3:18-19, emphasis added). Earth-bound people live for now only. Their appetites control them, and they glory in their fleshly indulgences (sexual, physical physique, food, alcohol, drugs, etc.,).

Everyone has an epicenter, a core from which he or she operates. Those who follow Christ are countercultural. They are other-world focused people. Theirs is a Christ-centered epicenter.

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Phil. 2:12-4:23):
According to Philippians 2:14-16, what diminishes the light of Christ shining through the life of a believer?
Describe Paul’s relationship with Timothy and Epaphroditus.
Paul’s letters begin with doctrine and end with application. What body of truth about Christ does Philippians 1-2 present? How do Paul’s instructions regarding Euodia and Syntyche apply that truth?