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We studied a passage from Philippians 3 in Sunday school class recently, and several things stood out to me that I thought I’d share:
- (verse 8) Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. What have I lost for the cause of Christ? If I have not lost something for the sake of Christ – be it a possession, or my reputation, or my cushy lifestyle, or a desire for worldly advancement – I need to seriously consider whether or not I am truly following Christ. The Scripture makes it very plain that those who are disciples will suffer (1 Peter 4:12-16), and we actually need to rejoice in those sufferings because they mean we are counted worthy to stand with Christ! Too often, I find myself trying to blend in with the world so I can suffer as little as possible, but that’s not God’s way.
- (verse 10) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; We are to know (experience) two things: the power of Christ’s resurrection by which the whole redemptive story of God from the beginning of time was fulfilled and the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. You can’t have one without the other, and I love the way that is portrayed in this verse. We all want to experience the power through Christ over sin, temptation, Satan, and death, but few of us embrace the suffering that comes with it. But you know what? When you are following Christ as a passionate disciple, the suffering is no longer pain but joy. This is a paradox that only a Christian can understand, but how blessed we are and how at rest when we can truly grasp the parallel nature of power and suffering!
- (verse 15) Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. I’ve heard that in this verse, the word “perfect” could also be translated “mature”. To me, what this verse is saying (when taken in context with the rest of the passage) is that as we grow and mature in Christ, our focus is to be on pressing toward the mark of knowing God, the power of Christ’s resurrection, and the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings (verse 10). Any part of us that is not bent on this goal, God will convict us of and point out to us where we need to change. Isn’t that such a beautiful thought? I’m so thankful I have a God Who is faithful to point out my shortcomings! I experienced this verse in a very personal way recently. I have a habit of letting myself get too wrapped up in my blog (and calling it my blog instead of God’s blog). I got to a point where I spent way too much time and energy on blogging to the extent that I was getting wrapped up in myself and my agendas instead of reaching out to the people around me. So God took my computer away. For several weeks, I was without a computer and had to rely on the generosity of others to fulfill my blogging obligations. I found out in a hurry that a) I was spending a lot of time on blogging that could be better spent elsewhere and b) that I could blog in much less time than I thought I could. Doing without my computer forced me to take my focus off of blogging and put it back where it needed to be, and I feel like my priorities are much more balanced now. I’m so thankful that God cared enough about me to take the drastic measures I needed in order to wake up to my problem.
Do you have a favorite verse from this chapter? Has God had to take drastic measures to reveal a problem to you that you needed to work on? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below! (If you’re viewing this as an email, you’ll need to view the post in your browser in order to be able to comment.) These spiritual posts have been a real blessing to me, not only in writing them but in hearing the thoughts of my readers on matters more important than funky recipes. *wink*