Thursday, February 18 Devotion

from Lynda Lindsey

Reading: Philippians 3:2-12

Lent: A Journey to the Cross

The King Is Coming; Prepare Ye the Way

Beware of Pride of Pedigree on the Journey

For 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—-though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: Philippians 3:3-4

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesusmy Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and 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. Philippians 3:7-9Legalism denotes excessive adherence to the law. Legalism is a to-the-letter-of-the-law obsession which begets rules. And then rules to explain the rules. Legalism results in hard hearts resistant to grace. Why else would the Jewish leaders become angry when Jesus healed on the Sabbath instead of marveling at Jesus’ mercy and compassion? Legalism leads to intellectual pride. Who else but the intellectually elite could write, interpret, and hold others accountable to keep the law? Legalism promotes a judgmental spirit between and among believers, reducing us to the level of us versus them. Legalism culminates in spiritual pride, as in my law-keeping-deeds make me right before God.

Paul confidently asserts if anyone has a right to boast about worldly accomplishments, lineage, and heritage, he can beat them at their own game! Paul’s background? Impressive. A first-rate pedigree. A Jew of the highest order. Yet Paul doesn’t boast about his accomplishments, calling everything rubbish except gaining Christ and being found in Christ. Righteousness comes from God alone. Righteousness is by faith in Christ, not from our pedigree nor from our works. Good deeds are not a way to righteousness; rather works follow after a person is made right with God through faith.

Paul’s ultimate desire: to know Christ and His resurrection power. Paul’s bold assertion to know Christ, to be like, and to live like Christ, is all the more appealing since Paul is writing from a prison cell in Rome. Paul presses toward that worthy goal by forgetting the past and straining forward like an athlete assaulting the finish line. The same power that sustained Paul lives inside each believer. Rely on the Holy Spirit. Renounce pride of pedigree. Renounce legalism. Forget the past. Surge toward the finish line. Be thankful. Be mindful. Be watchful. Be confident. Be prepared. The King is coming. Life in Christ awaits; He surpasses anything!