This Tuesday, I would like to continue with Chapter 3 of Philippians. After, I’m going to share about my next eBook, which is being released next month! In this section of Philippians, Paul outlines goals for our relationship with Christ and shares some things we may hope for.
Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 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. 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.
Paul warns the people of Philippi in the very beginning of his letter about taking care to avoid evil and to stick to the challenging path of following Christ, because we can share hope in God and have faith in his promises – rather than losing all hope as we watch our world face corruption.
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. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Anything that may have seemed like a blessing (such as a job) is a loss and potentially harmful if you have to sacrifice your faith and beliefs to keep it. When it seems like no one around you shares a faith in Christ, life can feel hopeless. However, the Lord will provide for you. He will give us strength to push on even in the hardest of times if we believe in Him.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
It is hard to forget and forgive in hard times, but there is no need to struggle with thinking about that. Just think about striving to honor Christ. Don’t think about what you can’t remember, or any physical challenges you may face. Christ has you exactly where He wants you to fulfill His perfect plans. He needs you to be where you, clinging to Him in the physical/mental circumstances you are in. He never promised a life of ease. He did promise a life of hardship. You were handpicked to face your challenges, because you are the only one who can deal with them in a manner that is perfect for His plans. His ultimate plan – not anything you can see or prepare for outside of studying His Word.
All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
The more we study the Bible, the clearer Christ’s plans for our lives will become. He has given each of us certain strengths and weaknesses (including certain hardships) for specific reasons. Again, you were specially selected to face your challenges. The closer you travel towards Christ, the farther you are from the road to destruction – even though it may not seem like it. You can eagerly look forward to an eternity with Jesus, set apart from the pain (either mental or physical) that you may be enduring now. Hope in Christ is a mental balm for the soul.
On another note, my next eBook, Five Techniques for Learning a Foreign Language, will be released on July 4th! It is currently available for preorder at several stores or through BookBub’s link. Unfortunately, it isn’t available on Amazon yet- I’m trying to figure out exactly why. It is available for preorder at other online bookstores though. The meaning of the term “preorder” is that you will pay now, and the eBook will be delivered to you when it is officially published on July 4th.
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