Philippians 3:1-9

Read Philippians 3:1-9
Confidence is one of those words where you can’t tell if it’s good, or if it’s or bad. We have all met the over-confident person, who flirts with arrogance and is difficult to be around. We’ve also encountered the person who has a lot of potential but lacks the appropriate amount of confidence to reach that potential. It’s kind of like you wish you could extract some from the over-confident person and inject it into those who are lacking! I have coached kids in baseball for years, I’ve seen over-confident kids get up to the plate and not hit a ball, but they mistakenly think they are the best on the team. But there are also under-confident kids who could probably actually hit it out of the park, but strike out, too. So, confidence can’t be all bad, it can’t all be connotated negatively. We have to have an appropriate amount of confidence to accomplish some things, job interviews, sports, arts, etc. How do we know when our confidence is just, well too much? And how do we know when we have misplaced our confidence?
 
Paul gives us some insight into that in our passage today. There were folks in the church who wanted everyone to go back to following the rules of the Jewish religion. Paul spends a lot of time in his writings fighting that in the church. Paul was a Hebrew, a Jew, he knew his tribe, his people, his nationality. Before encountering Jesus, his confidence was in his unwavering patriotism. He vigorously supported his very specific brand of politics and religion, persecuting those who didn’t agree with him while all the time following every letter of the law of the land. He is saying all of that made him not just a good Jew, but a great one. His confidence was in his culture, his nationality, his people. These were legitimate gains in his culture-they made him something. His confidence was in all of this and he thought all of this made him right with God.
 
Then he met Jesus. And the grace of Jesus showed him that none of that mattered. It’s not that patriotism or belonging to a tribe or people was wrong, it was just not important anymore because it was a deeply misplaced confidence. It was building on a foundation of sand, when the grace of God offered a foundation of rock. Paul even goes as far as to say he considered his past accomplishments as garbage. It’s because none of it merited anything with Christ. It was Christ who did the meriting on the cross. It was Christ who gave him a people (the church) that was far better than any tribe, family or clan.
 
Don’t waste time putting confidence in things that are not eternal, that really don’t matter. Put your confidence in the one who merited righteousness for your sake. Get to know him deeply, be found in him.

Questions for reflection: 
  1. Where is your confidence misplaced? 
  2. How is confidence in Christ better than those things?
David Flug | Community Life Pastor

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