WONDER-WORKING POWER

Opening Prayer

As I come to your Word today, Father, help me to understand the truths in your teachings; use them to change me.

Read PHILIPPIANS 3:1-11

No Confidence in the Flesh

3 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.

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[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Read full chapter

Footnotes

  1. Philippians 3:9 Or through the faithfulness of

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Meditate

What are the guiding principles that govern how you live? Reflect on these and offer them to God. Is there anything that he wants you to change?

Think Further

Political parties publish manifestos before elections, setting out their principles and priorities. Verse 10 is essentially Paul’s manifesto, his personal mission statement. Some translations and expositions suggest that the three dimensions of the verse – knowing Christ, his resurrection power, and his sufferings – are essentially different, but this does not reflect the original Greek. The 2011 NIV gets it right by tying resurrection and suffering much more tightly to the overarching desire to know Christ. If we ask the question, ‘How do we know Christ?’ the answer verse 10 gives us is this: live a life that closely follows the contours of Jesus’ own. We should serve as he did, knowing that, as we do so, suffering will surely come.1 In this way, we will know Christ more. Paul’s manifesto is a call for vigorous action.

Why is resurrection mentioned before suffering and death? They seem the wrong way around. The answer is most likely this: to live like Jesus we simply must have his power. The Greek word is dunamis, from which we derive English terms such as ‘dynamic’ and ‘dynamite.’ Only through the explosive power of Jesus’ resurrection, released in us by the indwelling Holy Spirit, can we follow our Lord wherever he leads. Yet with that internal ‘dynamic’ at work, Paul’s manifesto can truly become our own.

Philippians is a challenging book and today’s passage is no exception. It’s easy to feel that we are called to something unattainable. Yet that is not the case, for power is on offer. Perhaps you are facing an extremely tough situation. How will you cope? Or maybe you sense God calling you into something new and it’s scary. Can you really step out in faith? It won’t be easy, but there is power available and what amazing power it is!

Apply

Our aim should be to live in ways which cannot be explained apart from Jesus’ resurrection power within us. Make it your prayer to live like this.

Closing prayer

Lord Jesus, I confess that my life does not always testify to the power of your resurrection. Help me, so that what I do and say proclaims its transforming miracle.

Last Updated on December 28, 2023 by kingstar

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *