No Confidence in the Flesh
1 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.
Following Paul’s Example
15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
a Philippians 3:9 Or through the faithfulness of
end of footnotes end of crossrefs
January 20 Devotional
1. Paul constantly repeats the phrase “rejoice in the Lord.” It is not surprising that he begins this chapter by reminding us of this, again. A believer who rejoices in the Lord is a healthy believer. This is a distinctive sign of a victorious Christian who has peace and contentment. Therefore, it is the one thing Paul repeats over and over and over again: rejoice in the Lord.
How are you rejoicing in the Lord today?
2. “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (PHILIPPIANS 3:14)
Saul, the young man who was to become the Apostle Paul, knew what it was to strive to please God by fulfilling requirements of the religion in which he had been raised. He vigorously opposed anything that was outside of his system of beliefs. All that was so important to him fell away when he met the risen Christ. He had studied about God. But then he met his living Lord.
The religion that once had spawned Saul’s hatred and persecution of those who did not conform took on a whole new dimension. The truths he had studied now came alive. He had met the One the prophets foretold, and his life was filled with joy and purpose. All that mattered was to know Christ and complete God’s assignment. Until his death, Paul loved and served his Lord wholeheartedly. (Haven)
God has a plan for each of us, too. How it unfolds may be as surprising and dramatic as the changes that came for Saul. On the other hand, His plan may be more subtle in our lives, unfolding with each New Year and drawing us closer to Jesus.
How is God working in your life right now?
1. Pray that the wisdom from God’s Word will direct, correct, and instruct you today.