No Confidence in the Flesh
1Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
2Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. 3For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised 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; 6as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What 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 9and 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. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
*taken from biblegateway.org, NI Version. italics, the blogger’s own
I read a book a few days ago about a person who was hesitant about selling her decade-and-a-half-old car because of sentimental reasons. She did not want to part with her old, mechanic-magnet vehicle. The thought sounded OA to me, until I realized that there are some things in life that I want to be non-negotiable. I realized that i have almost closed the doors to all possibilities of being a missionary. I did not want to work in a place away from a city. I wanted a job that advances to the top (read: promotions). I’d be all but joyful to give away my gadgets and clothes. Perhaps I am still a long way from “being conformed to the image and likenss of Christ”.
I know of a person who calls the state of being ready to part with things as suicidal. Whether it be material or abstract, most people hold on dearly to stuff that others might consider as rubbish.
Most people today hold on dearly things and close to their heart. For some people, it may include ipods, dogs, cars or phones. To others, position, a high-paying job, a comfortable lifestyle, or a peaceful neighborhood.
In the above passage, we ca see that the apostle Paul counted his prestiege, position, peaceful coexistence, and “legalistic righteousness” (which he has worked for in such a long span of time) as nothing compared to knowing Christ. He willfully parted with these things, in order that he may gain Christ. Paul, so to speak, has adopted a “suicidal” view when it comes to things that are of no eternal value.
Paul “lost all things” for the sake of Christ (take note, it’s in the past tense). Did we “lose all things” the moment we turned to Christ? Do we have the same point of view as Paul? Are we willing to relocate to a far-flung, churchless neigborhood for the “sake of Christ”? Can we easily let go of our material possessions without second thoughts? Or are we stuck to a superficial form of Christianity that takes all the rubbish along with the Only thing that matters?
I am not saying that we should give away all that we have and wander the face of the earth with only one set of clothes and some cartons for beds. I am saying that it may be better if we take into account all purchases and decisions we make, and review them in the light of eternity. Perhaps we even need to check if we are severely attached to any object or desire, especially if we consider that object or desire as having greater value than Christ.
Knowing Christ is the only thing that should be non-negotiable. If there are other things on your list, pray hard. Don’t stop until only one is left.
**perhaps i’ll try tagalog tomorrow