"Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord...."
I looked up the word "rejoice" in the greek and it its original meaning here is something along the lines of "be conscious of his grace." Nice. I definitely have not been doing that enough, and thinking about my prayers lately the are mostly if not completely requests. Sometimes I'm thankful for prayers that have already been answered, but I've definitely been spending ZERO time just rejoicing in God for who He is. For the grace that He bestows continually...something I want to do more, especially as we enter into the Thanksgiving season ;-)
oooooo...there's so much in this chapter and I think I could write about something from every verse, but I'll just do my favorites...
in verse 3 ( ok, so I didn't get much further! heh) it reads:
"For it is we who are the circumcision ( meaning Jews, or God's chosen people), who worship in the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh-even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh."
So, this could be a bit confusing if you don't know some background key "bible back story". Basically the Jews are God's chosen people as decided by their great great great (great) granddaddy's relationship with God ( Abraham). Then through Moses, God gave these people the rules to live by "The Law" ( which includes but is not limited to the ten commandments) ...and so, as Jewish people they had a lot of (rightly to some extent) confidence in their heritage and there relationship with God. However, and what Paul is talking about here, when Jesus and died on the cross came he did away with the Law...he got rid of all the hoops and bells and whistles that a person once had to jump through in which to get "in good" with God. He also did something marvelous ( in my opinion) and got rid of the whole "having to be a Jew" thing and basically gave EVERYONE the right to become children of God ( John 1:12) . And so here Paul is reminded the Philippians of that fact. And here's where I stopped to ponder....
Do I sometimes put my confidence in other things, other than in Jesus and what He's done for me?
Do I often put my confidence in my own heritage ( after all, I am lucky enough to have a pretty amazing family ( both blood and not) who have good relationships with Jesus and who's faith is strong ( BUT THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH!) and afterall, I am a good person- even though I have really really wanted to yell at my downstairs neighbor ( yes, the ones with the naked little boy sign out front) for waking Ransom up from his nap TWICE this week..I haven't=good person. And I volunteer, and give to the poor and I exercise and eat right and take care of the environment ( we drive a Prius!!) (ALL OF THESE THINGS NOT GOOD ENOUGH!) . I also read my Bible every day, and do Bible studies ( like this one!) and I pray and I try to help others grow in their relationship with God! ( NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!). Yup, bottom line. I should not be putting my confidences in any of these things, but instead realize and delight in the fact that all of this is not important. The only thing that is important-" the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." ( verse 7) .
Jesus wants me to KNOW his, and have a RELATIONSHIP with Him....and He wants me to quit putting all my trust ( aka. my worries, my time, my energies) into things that are not as important. Sure, all those things I listed above are part of it, but they are just that-PART, the toppings, the condiments...they are not the juicy goodness that is the bottom line: A relationship. With Jesus.
OH MAN! I haven't even gotten past verse 3!!! And I've said so much already!
How bout we call this part one and I post part two a little later?!?