THE REAL DEAL
More of You, Jesus, more of You.
Read Philippians 3:1–11
No Confidence in the Flesh
3 Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 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— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIs my spiritual walk centered around knowing Christ?
The first word of verse 1 (“finally” or “further”) could be either completing the previous line of thought or beginning a new one. Either way, this section of the letter does take a sudden change of direction with the encouragement to rejoice being resumed at 4:4. It is as though Paul is suddenly seized by concern for the church at Philippi. It is in danger of being infiltrated by “Judaisers” insisting that non-Jewish converts to Christianity should become Jews first, and therefore be circumcised.
Paul is all too familiar with this thinking. It constantly aspires to greater perfection according to a clearly defined scale of religious qualifications. Paul himself has been at the very top of this scale (5,6). But he has come to see that what he considered “strengths” were actually weaknesses, and what he considered “threats” were in fact opportunities (7; 2 Cor. 12:1–10). Only one thing matters: knowing Christ and having the righteousness that comes from faith in him, not through religious “achievements.”
You may be familiar with the idea of a SWOT analysis. Thinking of your situation, where do you see Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats? Are they the same as God sees?
Lord, teach me to see opportunities in the midst of obstacles and Your strength in my weakness.
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