Philippians – Radical Joy
Oh, how we worry about stuff that isn’t worth our time to think about. But it takes a long time to grow and mature to get to the point of knowing what is important and what isn’t. Paul sets us straight, as usual. He reminds me of the first time I said yes to God and to subsequent times later. He also reminds me, sadly, of all the time spent in worry and pondering over things that had little value in light of Kingdom thinking and behaving.
Paul begins with “Be glad in God!” “REJOICE, and again I say rejoice!”, as in other translations that are more common to us. “The real believers are the ones the Spirit of God leads to work away at this ministry, filling the air with Christ’s praise as we do it. We couldn’t carry this off by our own efforts, and we know it–even though we can list what many might think are impressive credentials.” In other words, it’s WHO you know and follow. It is good to train for the race to finish well, but our desire is to know Jesus. That is ALL that matters when all is said and done.
Philippians 3, The Message
7-9 The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.
10-11 I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.
Think About It…
Paul had been to the most prestigious religions schools. He was a Roman citizen which was important in that day. Paul was a great man of influence in the eyes of the world before his encounter with Christ. He gladly gave it all away for a new obsession…knowing Christ personally. Everything is “inferior stuff”, not worth the time to think about. The one and only desire is knowing Christ. Think about that when world thinking creeps in.
Paul points out that knowing Christ in his resurrection is not enough either. We must know Him, “be a partner in” Christ’s suffering…”go all the way with him to death itself.” Paul wants to be resurrected with Christ! That’s giving all to know Christ in all ways.
Paul’s humility, because of Christ, knows (like you and I) he hasn’t arrived, doesn’t not have it altogether now. “But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.”
Rejoice! And again I say, rejoice! God reaches down to us by sending His One and Only, Jesus Christ to save us. Nothing else matters. Yes, I want to know Christ!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for loving us this much. We rejoice at the thought of your love and care for us. We rejoice in being redeemed by Christ so that we can get to know You through Christ! We rejoice. We are glad this morning to know You and to listen to your teaching. Continue to transform me. Transform your church. Transform the world. I want to know You more and more each day.
In Jesus Name, Amen