I want to know Christ…(Philippians 3:10)
As my friend
As my brother
As my master
As my hero
As my leader
As my confidant
As my creator
As my helper
As my shelter
As my rock
As my hope
As my heart
This could take a while.
This could take forever.
Happy Friday, Beloved
…that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith (Philippians 3:9).
I remember a book I read when I was a kid. In it, Death was a regular guy whose job was to come collect your soul when you died. Good deeds from your life made your soul lighter; bad deeds made it heavier. Mr. Death freed your soul and allowed it to float up to heaven or sink down to hell.
Good story–bad theology.
Two major problems from the perspective of Truth. First, as we’ve already seen, your most righteous righteousness ain’t so righteous, so your soul–and mine–would float like balloons filled with mashed potatoes. Second, God isn’t looking for a 51%-49% proposition. Anything less than perfection is an epic fail.
But Michael, I could never–
Aaaaaand…we’re back to Jesus.
Happy Thursday, Beloved.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him… (Philippians 3:8-9)
Today is trash day.
Figuratively speaking. Literal trash day was yesterday, but I hadn’t reached this verse then. Just go with it, please.
I took the cans to the curb, and as I did I thought about how great it would be if I could take all the stuff that I think is important–but is really rubbish–and throw it out. Just take the pride and the doubt and the fear and…well…the Michael–and toss it in the can next to the used paper towels and the banana peels and the shredded shoes and say goodbye to it.
Then I realized…I’d need a bigger can
and a bigger truck
and a bigger landfill.
Happy Wednesday, Beloved.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things (Philippians 3:7-8).
Time for a heart check, Beloved of Christ.
Read the words again.
Let them percolate.
And ask yourself: Would you willingly, joyfully, eagerly walk away from all that you have and do and are for the sake of Christ?
Easy to say…
Happy Tuesday, Beloved.
If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 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; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless (Philippians 3:4-6).
You know what I like about our dog?
She’s not trying to impress anybody. She just came in from the back yard, scruffy and damp and smelling of something she should not have been rolling in. She came in with a wagging tail and a big puppy grin, nothing to prove, just happy to be with me.
You know what else I like about our dog?
She has no illusions of grandeur. She is fully aware–to the extent that a dog can be aware–that she is dependent upon us, and she seems utterly fine with that. She makes no attempt to feed herself, or let herself out, or bathe herself (although I wouldn’t mind that last bit). She is content, knowing that her needs will be met by those who love her and have chosen her..
You can learn a lot from a dog.
Happy Monday, Beloved.
It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you (Philippians 3:1).
I almost skipped over this line, as I often skim past it when I am reading this passage. It just seems like filler, a transition to get us into the next section of the letter. Then I realized something.
This line is gold.
This line is at the very heart of wisdom.
As a teacher, I know that students need to hear something multiple times before it sinks in. They can read it, hear it from me, discuss it with a partner, watch it in a video, and still be completely clueless on tomorrow’s quiz. A standard teacher mantra is It never hurts ‘em to hear it again. In this respect, you and I are no different from the twelve-year-olds in my classroom.
We need to read it again
Hear it again
See it again
Experience it again
Pray it again
before it really sinks in.
So, as you head into your week, don’t shy away from the lessons you think you’ve already learned. That leads to pride, and we know where that road takes us. Instead, embrace the wisdom like the old friend that it is.
It never hurts us to hear it again.
Happy Friday, Beloved.
Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! (Philippians 3:1)
Rejoice in the One who has formed you out of dust and love, who has called you to be his beloved, who has set you apart and sealed you as his own. He knows you completely, and loves you anyway. Every dark thing in this world and in your life will be overwhelmed and overcome by the power of his love and holiness.
He is King.
He is God.
He is yours
you are his.
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children without fault in a crooked and depraved generation in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing (Philippians 2:16).
I’m a teacher, and as I read this a couple of thoughts pop into my head.
One, this is a really long sentence. Paul…Buddy…I know this is translated from Greek and all, but you oughta review your punctuation.
Two, I identify with this. I mean, I’m just a middle school teacher, but like all teachers I take a measure of success or failure from my students’ performance. I know that there are a thousand things that affect their scores over which I have zero influence. Still, my success is tied up in theirs. When they pass the test, so do I. When they fall short…
And Paul was so much more than their teacher. He was the founder of their church, their mentor, their spiritual father…their apostle.
And he was watching to see that his work had not been in vain.
Beloved, who has invested in your life? Who has run and labored on your behalf? Remember them today. Pray for them. Reach out to them if you can, and let them know that you know…you know?
Happy Wednesday, Beloved.
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children without fault in a crooked and depraved generation in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life… (Philippians 2:16)
You walk out into the world today carrying the greatest treasure imaginable.
Don’t grip it in a clenched fist, Beloved.
Hold it loosely
Happy Tuesday, Beloved.
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children without fault in a crooked and depraved generation in which you shine like stars in the universe… (Philippians 2:14)
Like a star
But not a star
You and I are more like moons, reflecting the light of the Son. When we do our jobs right, we reflect pure light onto a dark world. When we get a little too full of ourselves, and maybe start thinking that’s our light pouring out on the world, well…
Have you ever seen an eclipse?
Be a full moon today.
Happy Monday, Beloved.