Word for Today – Philippians 3:4-6

Confidence in the Flesh

Whether Jew or Gentile, believer or non-believer, we all have one thing in common: we are of flesh and blood. That is our reality, and it often gets in the way of connecting with our spirituality.

It is much easier to believe in what we can see and touch over that which is intangible . . . like God’s world. What seems more logical to our fleshy minds . . . a) a real job with a paycheck that pays the bills, or b) believing that God will somehow meet our needs? It’s a valid question that even creeps up on seasoned believers from time to time.

“If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church, as to righteousness under the law, blameless” (Philippians 3:4-6 NRSV).

If anyone had tangible assets to cling to it was Paul, the former bad boy Pharisee. He had quite a list of earthly credentials. Our accomplishments today may look a little different, but our propensity to grab on to things like college degrees, high-paying jobs, status, and big bank accounts, still feed our flesh. Just like Paul’s resume was centered around God stuff rather than a relationship with the Master of the Universe, we must not let our credentials hinder our relationship with the Creator.

Can you relate? I can! If I had to rate myself in this area, I wouldn’t say that I’m straddling the fence of spiritual ambiguity. But, as much as I hate to admit it, that fence is a part of my Christian life. At least I’m sitting on the fence with both feet dangling on God’s side. That’s an improvement over where I used to be when my feet dangled in the other direction.

Sitting where I am is not necessarily a bad place, but obviously it could be better. I’m confident that, as I learn to suppress my flesh, my position will improve. The Christian life is a journey that gradually weans us off our confidence in the flesh when we place faith in Jesus Christ.

It is not an easy to let our spiritual side override the flesh, because we are, after all, made of flesh. Believe it or not, I find great hope in Paul’s words throughout Philippians 3. Paul makes me painfully aware of my flesh, but he also lets me know that God loves me anyway. Because Jesus became fully man (fully flesh), God knows our struggles and rejoices when we prevail over them.

Don’t hate yourself because you are flesh and inclined to put your confidence in fleshy things. Instead, love Jesus all the more knowing that your growing faith will give you the confidence to jump into God’s world and leave that fence of spiritual ambiguity behind.

Word for Today: Move beyond confidence in the flesh and toward faith in God.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 at 6:07 am and is filed under Philippians, Word for the Day. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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