Read Philippians 3:1-6
Can you imagine standing before God for the first time ever, face to face, in heaven, and reading off a list of your credentials as to why He should let you into the Kingdom?
Starting with your childhood until now.
Mine would read:
I got straight A’s in elementary school.
I was bilingual, I spoke Spanish and English fluently by 6th grade.
I won the Hazelton award, twice (what’s that you ask? Only the most prestigious award at my elementary school!).
I was the princess at the school play.
I was on the varsity softball team in high school all four years.
I once did 3 pull ups in a row, nailing my PE test.
I was the first person in my family, on both sides, to go to college.
I was in my career and married by age 23.
I was paid twice by strangers as a child for behaving so well in public.
I mean talk about confidence in the flesh, right??
Image Credit: Brad K., Creative Commons
That’s kind of what Paul is doing here. He is saying, listen, if anyone has the credentials to get into heaven based on how good they are, it’s me. But in comparison to who God is and His standard for perfection, it all looks a little silly, kind of like my list.
Though I think you get crown jewels in heaven for being bilingual, I’m not sure?
If I’m honest, it’s not just my past behavior that I think earns me affection from God, it’s my present. I sometimes think if I just “do more,” I’ll be loved more. Yet, that’s not how it is with God. He can never love you more or less in Christ. He loves us in spite of our lists. In fact our lists are nothing in comparison to the gift of Jesus.
So be honest, do you have a list? Are you still trying to go to God with good behavior to earn extra favor? Let’s lay our lists down today and rest in His already soul-satisfying love.
1. List what Paul says of himself in verses 5-6.
2. What does it mean to have “confidence in the flesh”?
3. Are there things you do to try and have “confidence in the flesh” instead of confidence in the finished work of Christ? Are there “good things” you do with wrong motives?