It is already 17 days into the new year - the month of January is half over! How has your time in the Word of God been these first few days of 2018? I want to encourage you to spend each and every day with God in His Word. If you have struggled in your walk with the Lord so far this year, make today the day that you begin spending time with Him. Do not focus on the 17 days that are gone. Rather, focus on the 348 days that you still have and pursue Him with passion!
Today I would like to look at a simple but powerful thought from the third chapter of Philippians. Recently I have been studying all of Paul's Epistles in the New Testament and I am currently studying the book of 1 Timothy. One common thread that I have noticed so far throughout all of these books (Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and 1 Timothy) is that of the Christian finding confidence solely in Christ and living in light of that truth.
For context, I would ask you to read all of the third chapter of Philippians, but I am going to point out three verses in particular. Philippians 3:3 states, "For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." Keep reading down to verse 13 and 14 which state, "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
In this chapter, Paul breaks down the idea of relying on ourselves (gifts, talents, abilities, actions, etc.) for our confidence in life. Confidence in the Christian life should develop from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ; confidence should not be in us. Paul illustrates this concept in this chapter as he speaks of his own "credentials" in Philippians 3:4-10 and discredits the confidence they offer in comparison to the confidence that is offered in the person of Christ. There is so little to merit the abilities of the flesh in comparison with growing closer to and pleasing Christ.
Our confidence in life can only be in Christ. Everything else is fleeting. Gifts, talents, abilities, actions, wealth, health - it can all fade. Christ is the only never-changing and never-failing place where we can put our confidence. Paul encourages us to forget the things that are behind. This would include both victories and failures. We cannot look to the past for validation from victories and we cannot stay discouraged from defeats. Why? Because no matter what, our confidence is in Christ!
I want to encourage you today with this closing thought. Do not seek to find approval and acceptance in anything or anyone other than the person of Jesus Christ. Stake your confidence in Him. He is faithful. He will never disappoint you.
|Written by Corey Knopf
January 17, 2018