READ PHILIPPIANS THREE
After warning the Philippians about those who would encourage them to put their confidence in the flesh, rather than in Christ, Paul tells the Philippians this: if anyone could put confidence in the flesh, he could.
Paul lists multiple reasons he could put confidence in his flesh. Consider each of these reasons together with the following cross-references (remembering that most of them were written by Paul). What do each of these lend to Paul’s potential confidence in the flesh?
Circumcised on the either day, Luke 1:59 –
Of the people of Israel, 2 Corinthians 11:22 –
Of the tribe of Benjamin, Romans 11:1 –
A Hebrew of Hebrews –
In regard to the law, a Pharisee, Acts 23:6 –
As for zeal, persecuting the church, Acts 8:3 –
As for righteousness based on the law, faultless, Romans 10:5 –
Paul’s Jewish pedigree is flawless. Not only has he followed the Old Testament Law in adulthood, he was born into a Law-following family that circumcised him according to the Jewish tradition, on the eighth day. He is not only of the chosen people, Israel, but of a cherished tribe – the tribe of Benjamin. Paul wasn’t just a part of the Jewish faith, but cared for it to the fullest extent – so far that he sought to extinguish Jewish converts to Christianity! Paul has every reason to consider himself the “Ideal Israelite.”
But … what does he say instead in verse 7-8?
Paul looks at all of his accolades and thinks of what a loss they are because they point him to put confidence in the flesh. He looks at all the work he has done to build himself into an Ideal Israelite, and realizes that all of that masked his own need for a Savior. In this light, they are total garbage. They are rubbish.
Paul actually uses some pretty strong language here in the original Greek. He is not just saying they are trash, but using a curse word for feces. Use your imagination. 😉 And I think it is so appropriate that Paul speaks so strongly at this point! He looks at all the things that point him to put confidence in his own flesh, and he knows they are absolute crap next to glory of knowing Christ!
Have you considered the glory of knowing Christ to this extent? Have you spend time savoring what it means that you are in relationship with the God of the universe because of the death of His Son?
Spend some time meditating on what it means to be saved by the death and resurrection of Jesus. Consider the areas where you have put confidence in the flesh (from yesterday). How might God be calling you to reform your value of those things in light of verses 7 through 11?
PRAY & REFLECT
Thank God that you do not have righteousness that comes from your own flesh, but from the bloody flesh of your crucified Savior. Praise Him that you are found in Him, if you claim Him as your Savior. Ask Him to help you put confidence in Him alone.