Daily Devotional: Philippians 3:1-11

Daily Devotional: Philippians 3:1-11

Written by Lead Pastor Phil Stout, JAXNAZ Church

Philippians 3:1-11

New International Version (NIV)

No Confidence in the Flesh
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.

Start:

Consider: Truth matters. Theology matters. The word “theology” comes from two Greek words: Theos—“God,” and logos, which is translated as “word,” but points to something much deeper than our words can express. Our words—our beliefs—about God matter.

If we are ever tempted to think that theology is just the stuff of university lectures, musty books in seminary libraries and abstract debates, we’ll miss the transformation that God wants to do in our lives and in our world, because theology is something we live every day. As one of my theology professors liked to say, “Theology wears overalls.”

Bad theology does bad things. In the early days of our country, preachers theologized that slavery was God-ordained. In fact, some of the early explorers used theological rationale to displace Native Americans, even committing genocide. Bad theology gets people killed. To this day, misguided people still use the name of Christ to oppress others.

So you see why Paul was so passionate in opposing those who were distorting the good news of Jesus Christ. As you read today’s passage, you heard some strong language from our brother, Paul.

But you’ll also notice that Paul didn’t simply try to fight bad theology with counter arguments. He didn’t reduce himself to the role of a debater who was trying to win someone over to a competing ideology. No, his intentions with the word—the logos—of God were much deeper.

“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…” (3:10)

Those are not the words of someone who simply wants to argue over doctrine. Those are the words of someone who understands that the word must become flesh. And he was willing to allow Christ to do that in him.

That’s good theology.

Pray: “Lord, may my quest for knowledge be a quest for the knowledge of you and your presence in me and in your world. All wisdom starts there. Like Paul, ‘I want to know Christ’ and the power of your resurrection in me.”

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