Monday, July 30, 2012

knowing Christ is priceless

"Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.
Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. For we who worship by the Spirit of God[b] are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more!
 I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.
I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!"

Philippians 3:1-11

Hey, gals!  Before we take apart these few verses I just want to tell you how much I appreciate you learning and growing with us as we go through Philippians.  We may not see a lot of your comments (if you're reading, drop us a comment from time to time!) but we know that there are several of you out there studying along side of us.  Keep at it, sister!  There is nothing more fulfilling than being in the Word of God.  I pray that you're learning through this series like we are.  Have any big thoughts on what we've been discussing?  Drop us a comment or send us an email!  We'd love to know what you think.

I love today's hunk of scripture so much because there is just as much for us to draw from it today as when Paul was speaking to the church of Philippi.  

What Paul says in these few verses speaks so loudly to me personally, and I hope it does to you too.  In the majority of these verses Paul is warning us against wasting our lives on worthless religious activity and he even gives himself as an example.  He was a Jew who was the best of the best.  He was circumcised, a Pharisee, and strictly followed the Jewish laws.  He was the king of religious activity.  Just like Paul, we are often queens (or at least princesses!) of religious activity.  We head up all the church committees, we have weekly bible studies, we share scriptures with our girlfriends, we follow all the "rules".  We often spend our days, weeks, months, and years wasting our life on things that are worthless when compared to knowing Christ.  Paul says that he once thought all those things were valuable... until Jesus.  

I can get so caught up in pursuing religious activity over pursuing Christ, but God doesn't accept us based on what religious activity we've picked up this week, He accepts us because of Jesus.

He accepts us because Jesus died on a cross to cover us in grace and mercy.  He accepts us because the blood of Jesus washes away all our sins.

None of the religious things we do make us righteous.  We can only be counted righteous through Christ.  

Without Jesus, religious activity is just activity.  

Jesus, thank You for your word.  Thank you for breathing life into us through it.  I pray that we wouldn't waste our lives on worthless religious activity.  I pray that we would come to recognize that we can never "work" our way into your presence.  You accept us because of what You've done and who You are.  Lord, it is my desire that whenever we do something in your name we are truly doing it out of love for you and out of a desire to know you more.  May we never forget that we're only righteous through You, not through our activity.  Convict our hearts.  We love you. Amen.


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