Lord, help me learn to count everything as a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing You. Help me to know You and the power of Your resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in Your sufferings. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read Philippians 3
In this chapter, Paul is back to warning the Philippians about enemies of the gospel. In Philippians 1, he spoke about those enemies who put him in prison; this was no matter, he said, because even in that situation, Christ received honor as the gospel was preached throughout the whole palace guard. But now he turns to a different threat.
The threat came from those around them who preached a different gospel, one that trusted not only in the work of Christ but also in the ritual of circumcision. Paul explained those who are true followers of Christ are those who “glory in Christ” and “worship by the Spirit.” There’s nothing, Paul reminds the reader, that can save except the work of Christ and His righteousness, received by faith. So all other “works” of obedience, religion, and tradition—like the ritual of circumcision—don’t profit us anything in the search for salvation. In fact, Paul considered them a loss, rather than a help. We need only to be found in Christ, cloaked in His righteousness; we need only to “glory in Christ” alone.
Paul then told the Philippian church to follow his example, to press on toward the prize, and to imitate him and others who live as he did. Many so-called followers of Christ lived as enemies of the gospel, and Paul pleaded with the Philippians not to follow them. Their god was their stomach (their appetites), their minds centered on earthly things, and they gloried in their shame. What a picture of worldly living! Christians, however, don’t belong to this world, Paul reminded them. They belong to another kingdom, and they’re waiting for Christ the Savior.
So here’s the message of Philippians 3: glory in Christ, watch out for enemies of the gospel, follow Paul’s example, and eagerly await the Savior from heaven.
8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order 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 comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.
- In what ways are you tempted to put confidence in your flesh? In yourself? Your local church? Your Bible knowledge? Your education? Your job? Your kids? Your quick mind?
- Are there ways you live with your mind on earthly things? What would others who know you say you spend your time doing and thinking? When your mind is in neutral, where does it go?
- Talk to your accountability partner or other Christians about what you and they think might be holding you back from pressing on toward the goal God has called you to.
Rework your testimony based on the feedback you’ve received. Tell it to a friend outside of your Deepen Discipleship group. Report to the group what you learned and any adjustments you will make. [Making Disciples]