The Way - Day 145 (Philippians 3)

Daily Reading:
Philippians 3
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
Paul had quite the pedigree when it came to being someone who was "qualified" to be confident in himself, but he denied all his earthly status and achievements and said they were worthless in comparison to knowing Christ and what He has done. Do you struggle with holding on to your human effort or are you clinging to the infinite value of knowing Christ?  Pray this week for help in surrendering more to the righteousness found  in Jesus.
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 51:16-17
OPTION 2: Proverbs 18:24
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:12-13
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for Philippians 3 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
Philippians 3:1-11
Paul has written much about the adversity a believer faces because of his or her faith in Jesus Christ. He was a living example of someone who stood for his faith, but was now imprisoned because of his stance. For several chapters, Paul has been asking his readers to look past circumstances and endure whatever obstacles come their way, but now he begins to warn the church at Philippi about false teachers. He seems to single out Jews who were depending on their circumcision for salvation (3:2-3). When a person looks to any external works in order to gain a relationship with God, it compromises the very sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins. Paul challenges his readers to "have no confidence in the flesh." If anyone could be confident in his flesh, it was Paul. After all, he was "circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless." Paul had followed the system of Judaism to the extreme, but his righteousness was only external. Paul knew that his works could not earn him favor with God, so he admitted "what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ." False teachers would have the Philippians believe that righteousness is found in what they do, but Paul wanted them to know righteousness is only found in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross (3:7-9). Jesus paid the penalty for our sin by dying in our place. He now offers salvation to anyone who will put their faith in Him and reject their own attempts at righteousness (3:9). Paul's goal in life was that he would "know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death...." Paul desired an intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus' resurrection displayed God's power over life and death and enables us to endure earthly struggles. Jesus suffered and so will the genuine believer, but God provides comfort to the weak and broken-hearted. Believers in Jesus Christ can look past the obstacles of this world with the knowledge that we will be resurrected from the dead and forever be with Christ (3:11).

Philippians 3:12-16
Paul declared in Philippians 3:10 his desire to know God and "the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death." He knew that living his life for the sake of Christ may result in him losing it, but he was convinced that a life lived for God would not be wasted. Lest anyone thought Paul had already attained Christlikeness or had fully accomplished that which God had called him to do, he informed them that he had not attained and was not perfect (3:12). Instead of being satisfied with his life, Paul pressed on to "lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me." God's desire was to use Paul in spreading the gospel and he was committed to fulfilling that purpose to which he had been called. It was possible for Paul to look back and see everything that he had already attained and feel as though he had served his time (3:13a); however, Paul chose to forget "those things which are behind" and reach "forward to those things which are ahead." We cannot be satisfied with the past, nor can we be consumed by our past. As a person reflects on their life, there may be many accomplishments as well as many regrets. The past can never change so we must live for today and the future. Each day we must strive to be pure in our thoughts and actions and be consumed with doing God's will on earth. Recognize that Christlikeness is a progression and don't become frustrated by your failure or satisfied with your success. Humble yourself before God and allow Him to live through you. Believers can be the "hands and feet" of God and allow the lost world to see God, whom no one has ever seen, through our actions and attitudes (1 John 4:12).

Philippians 3:17-4:1
The Christian life was not meant to be lived alone; in fact, the book of Ecclesiastes tells us that "two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up." Thank God believers can look to others for examples of how to live life. Paul encourages the Philippians to "join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern." He was not being arrogant, but simply setting himself and others as examples of imperfect people progressing in Christlikeness. Paul does warn his readers that there are those who set themselves up examples, but are not sincere (3:18). They are actually "enemies of the cross" and their "end is destruction." The people Paul is referring to were probably associated with the church, but their works did not reflect a genuine faith. Some characteristics of these people include adherence to certain dietary laws for salvation (whose god is their belly) and an apathetic view of their sin before a holy God (whose glory is their shame). Paul also mentions that they "set their mind on earthly things." Immediately following this statement, Paul reminds his readers that their "citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body, that it may be conformed to His glorious body...." Those whose faith was not genuine focused on earthly things while those whose faith is real reject what the world offers in exchange for the glories of heaven (3:20). Although we struggle with sickness, sin, and weakness here on earth, the believer's body will be changed to be like the resurrected body of Jesus Christ. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, "The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." Because our future is in heaven and not on earth, Paul urges the Philippians to "stand fast in the Lord." Yes, this life is hard, but the believer in Jesus Christ can endure the struggles because there is hope beyond this life. In the meantime, we should be progressing in Christlikeness and be faithful to God's will.

Dear God, make visible those who are following You so I can follow after their example. Help me to also set an example for those who look to me for guidance. Remind me often of the life that awaits me beyond this one!