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[a] 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.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
We are covering a larger part of the book today, mainly because of it’s consistent theme. Verse 1 to 14 of chapter 3 sings out this theme: If you’re finding value in something other than knowing Christ you’re foolish. Paul had spent so much time being manicured in the ways of the Pharisees. He had great status, great reputation, he was “important.” Yet all of that is considered “loss for the sake of Christ.” This problem of finding value in things outside of Christ is still prevalent today. We have pulpits filled with preachers who boast about their education, their doctorates, their experience, or a multitude of other things. Congregations filled with people who find great pride in their work, their home, or their cars. Status is a focus of most people. However, Paul challenges them that the only thing that matters is their path towards becoming like Christ. Paul stresses that the only thing we should find glory only in IS how much Christ is revealed in our lives. If the things you are most proud about have nothing to do with Jesus then you’re boasting about the wrong things.
For instance: what if churches were filled with people who were willing to forego the major things other’s spend money on in life for the sake of being able to evangelize? What if everyone in our church spent more effort towards doing things that lended to freeing them up and giving them opportunities to talk with others? Things like lowering their cost of living so that they can work less, and ultimately spend more time with people. Or maybe they work a bit for the sole purpose that they will have more income to pour out love on others. There’s nothing inherently wrong with making money, but it shows we aren’t considering all other things worthless if we are working like crazy just to buy more things for ourselves. Everything in our lives should be pointed towards helping others and sharing the Gospel. This is includes our finances.
It can all be boiled down to this: if your life revolves around your experience, your happiness, or upgrading your surroundings in life do you really think you are representing the Gospel? I’d love to see a shift in christian culture that spent even 10% of their time blessing others.
God help me to truly evaluate my life and observe wether or not I am considering Your Gospel above all other things. Show me the areas that I am actually putting my possessions above You. Make clear to me all of the things that I am doing which aren’t honoring to You, or profitable for Your Kingdom. Amen.
Today’s passages are all about our relation with other people, for the Gospel is others centered. Evaluate your day to day life and see how much of it you spend caring for other people and sharing the Gospel. You may be doing nothing, so try to do one thing a WEEK. That seems pretty easy, until you try it. Try to increase whatever you’re doing now by one action a week. Then after a month or two of doing that, increase it by one more a week. So on and so forth. After a year or so you will realize your life is starting to look a lot more like that of the disciples! 🙂 Let’s get it!