For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence. Philippians 3:3-4
No confidence in the flesh, that’s what we should all strive for, right?
How easy is it to not have confidence in the flesh, realistically?
Not easy. At least not easy for me.
I’ve have several great accomplishments in my life, and most recently, I’ve been able to lose all but one pound of baby weight I gained with my now 10 month old.
It hasn’t been easy. I have a history of dysfunctional eating, and this time I’m proud to say I didn’t resort to drastic habits to reach my ideal number on the scale. In fact, I ate more!
It hasn’t just been about weight-loss either, I’ve gotten stronger and faster and I’ve been consistent in my healthy lifestyle habits.
I’ve noticed a difference, but who am I crediting for my accomplishment?
Is it my own doing that I’ve lost weight, gotten stronger and healthier? Or is there an underlying factor that is spuring me on?
Here is the thing, to maintain healthy habits takes consistency and discipline. Sure we have a certain amount of discipline to remain consistent in our own will, but what really allows us to achieve these goals we set in the Holy Spirit inside of us.
I love how Paul in the passage today is saying that in the flesh we all have accomplishments that we are proud of, our self-confidence. In the following verse he lists all of the things he accomplished on his own (his resume of sorts), contributing to having confidence in the flesh.
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless Philippians 3:4-6
But then he very plainly states that all of our man-made confidences are nothing compared to the confidence we have in Christ.
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, 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 on the basis of faith. Philippians 3:7-9
I love how he contrasts gains and losses and that instead of putting confidence in our gains we need to put confidence in our losses.
Put your confidence in your losses.
It seems so counter-intuitive to consider a loss as a gain and Paul continues to tell us why we should all strive to strip ourselves of our confidence in the flesh.
the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.
Having a saving relationship with Jesus is greater than even our greatest accomplishment.
Our greatest accomplishment (if you want to use that word) is coming to faith in Jesus.
Our souls have been saved and our lives have been changed. THAT is where we put our confidence.
Everything else pales in comparison.
All the weight you lose.
All the degrees you earn.
All the titles you have.
I consider them garbage, 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
Righteousness of our own comes from when we look to our confidence in the flesh, our achievements and our accomplishments as our own doing, instead of with the Holy Spirit.
Our righteousness that comes from God is what putting our confidence in our losses looks like.
What do you need to lose in order to gain your Holy Confidence today?
Additional Verses for Study:
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6