Written by member: Severo Baltasar
Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.
2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship [a]God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain[b] to the resurrection from the dead.
?Believe in yourself,? is a popular truism that is communicated in our individualistic western culture. With enough hard work and confidence you can get that career, relationship, body, house, car etc. that you?ve always wanted, because YOU deserve it.
Well, I?m writing this today to say that you SHOULDN?T believe in yourself. Or at least not the you that you may think that you should believe in.
Because sometimes, no amount of self confidence will save you from having your life radically changed by a drunk driver. Or from the stock market crashing. Or from the candidate that you didn?t vote for getting into office. Or from getting cheated out of the job you want. Or invasion from a foreign power – or aliens. Surprise. Life isn?t fair.
Now that I?ve taken the wind out of your sails, I want to present this verse in Philippians, in which Paul, who was a Pharisee, a man of great means, power and influence in his time period says that he counts all the things that made him ?somebody? according to society as ?rubbish? compared to the knowledge of Jesus. Imagine a Fortune 500 CEO or a politician saying that. Now imagine an artist or an athlete or an entrepreneur. How about a mother or a husband or wife?
What makes someone ?matter? in this world? Is it the size of one?s paycheck? One?s lineage? Perhaps how much money one has donated to charity? Or perhaps a talent or a skill that helps people? Is it a person?s wisdom, or knowledge about a relevant subject? Is it their power or influence in society? Or having the latest iPhone and the most followers on Instagram? Or being the world record holder at something?
Depending on what culture and time period you look at, these things have always changed. Society has long striven to determine that which makes someone ?good,? or ?acceptable.? And here in Philippians, Paul says that knowing Christ is more important than any of it, and affirms that he wishes to be found in Christ, not having his own righteousness ?which is from the law? but that which is through ?faith in Christ.? Furthermore, he goes further to express his desire to share in the fellowship of Christ?s sufferings being conformed to him in death that he might know the power of his resurrection.
Wow. To me it sounds like he just said that rather than being an influential religious leader who is revered in society (which he was), he?d rather be crucified with Christ and that he considers it better than anything else.
Now, I?m not saying this as an excuse to not do one?s best to pay the bills, but I wanted to encourage those out there who may be struggling to find their way in the universe, especially in a world where one is constantly bombarded with messages that make personal fulfillment or physical, social, emotional or monetary satisfaction as the ultimate end. It?s good to set goals and to take steps towards those goals, and desiring a comfortable place in the world isn?t wrong. But it?s all for nothing if we stop there.
The world is constantly changing. And the things we long for in this life last only during the lives we live. To want is to be human. Whether or not we ever find our desires on this earth realized in our time, the one constant, who we can always count on in the tides of world events and changing values is Christ and Christ alone. Our righteousness with him is not attained through anything we did on our own, but through faith in His sacrifice on the cross, we have been made right.
And being found in Him we CAN believe in ourselves. Or rather, we believe in the righteousness of Christ in us, whom we have received in faith.
In a world that says more, He is ENOUGH.
And because He is enough, we are ENOUGH.