Philippians 3 & 4
In our reading for today, the Apostle Paul continued to discuss the joy of having a relationship with Jesus Christ. From chapters 1 & 2, the letter to the Philippian church exemplified God’s sovereignty (1:12-13), Jesus’s faithfulness (2:6-8) and how Christians are supposed to respond (2:14-18) when faced with adverse situations. Paul also, in chapter 2:12-17, gave an outline of four ways for believers to be obedient to God during trials.
1) Do everything without complaining or arguing.
2) Live clean innocent lives.
3) Hold firm to God’s word.
4) Faithfully serve (make a sacrifice) as an offering to God.
In our reading today, Paul brings up elements that prevent believers from being obedient and thus causing a break in the joy of fellowship with Christ. The apostle gives an example of how our past accomplishments and pride are often the biggest and most frequent barriers (3:1-6). Paul writes about how his past success and even his heritage is not worthy or comparable to knowing Jesus. He emphasized that it is only through faith in Christ that we are made righteous. In Jeremiah 9:23-24, The Lord tells us not to boast about our own wisdom, power and riches but to boast about understanding and knowing him.
But Paul does not leave us with identifying a barrier but gives three suggestions towards pressing on to establish a joyous relationship with Christ:
1) Focus on Jesus Christ
2) Forget about past accomplishments
3) Mimic the actions of Jesus
We however, cannot leave Philippians without stating the key verse of the letter, 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. These simple words carry the weight of this letter as they emphasize how joy and security is found when we place our faith in Jesus Christ.