Philippians 3:1-11 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Susanna Lee, Gracepoint Davis

What are the things in my life which causes me to put my “confidence in the flesh”?  How does this negatively affect my ability to know God?
 
What is “confidence in the flesh”?  It is having confidence about myself (abilities/talents, experiences, achievements, family background, possessions, etc.) outside of Christ.  One of the perennial issues of my spiritual journey has been finding confidence in my achievements/successes rather than in my identity and in my relationship with Christ Jesus.   Being an achievement-oriented person (as far as I can remember), my confidence level goes up or down depending on what I produce or what I had failed to produce.  Going through Philippians 1 and 2 in our daily devotions, one theme that impacted me greatly is “God the Initiator and Completer.”  God is the One who began a good work in me.  He is the One who is going to complete it because He is faithful and He is able.   God is the One who exalted Christ to the highest place and gave Jesus the name that is above every name.  It is God who initiated the work of redemption in my life and it is He who is going to complete it.  I know this in my head, yet I sometimes lose confidence when I look within myself to carry out the work that God has started.  When I look inwardly and see all these things that I do not have,  my natural default mode is to work extra hard to make up for my deficiencies rather than relying on God’s strength and God’s power to carry me.  Recently I have been repenting of my sin of borrowing on my health to make up for things rather than entrusting each day’s work to God.  When my confidence is not on my identity as a child of God and when I do not relate to God as my Heavenly Father, I distort God into a Big Boss that I need to prove my worth and I end up striving to earn my keep.  One of my commitments since we started daily devotions in Philippians is to pause throughout the day to remember that it is God who initiates, sustains, and carries out the good work that He has graciously started in me and in everyone else.  I do this by lifting up a short prayer of praise/thanksgiving, by focusing on God when I journal rather than focusing on my failures, and by singing a hymn/praise pointing to God as the Enabler and Provider.  This has helped me to shift my focus from having confidence in my flesh to having confidence in God that He will carry out the good work that He has started in me, despite who I am with all of my lack. 

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Submitted by Bo Chen, Gracepoint Davis

What are the things in my life which causes me to put my “confidence in the flesh”?  How does this negatively affect my ability to know God?

My list of things that I can feel confident by can’t even compare to what Paul listed here.  That’s why he said, even he…with all these accomplishments, consider them all rubbish compared to knowing Christ. Many times, I put confidence in my competence and past experiences.  Though they are not super great or impressive, they are enough to get me by and causing me not to rely on Christ and His power.  I rely a lot on my ability to do something about certain situations or gain a sense of control to change things, and this becomes my false source of confidence. Another source of confidence in the flesh is my past Bible knowledge, messages and many insights I’ve heard from the years I’ve been at this church and the years of training I’ve received.  It’s easy to put confidence in these that I am able to say the right thing or make the right realization, but the real test is “how are these truths transforming my life again and again?” Another source of confidence in the flesh is my health, my youth and things I possess in life which could easily make me feel like life is pretty much in control and things aren’t bad.  It could be subtle things like a stable job, financial stability, stable marriage, and good relationships overall.  These are good things and blessings from God, but when they become my source of confidence, it’s easy for me feel less needy and desperate in life and less urgency to grow deeper in my knowledge of God and heart for people.
 
This negatively affects my ability to know God in that when I rely only on myself, I don’t turn to Him.  By nature I am proud and want to be self-sufficient and self-reliant, and I easily forget how much I need God’s grace and mercy every hour.  When I turn these things to become my confidence in the flesh, I don’t struggle to seek Him, His will, His peace and His guidance as much.
What are the things I have deliberately “lost” for the sake of Christ since becoming Christian?  What does this reveal about who Christ is in my life?- One thing I have deliberately “lost” for the sake of Christ was my pursuit for people’s approval, esp. the approval of the world such as recognition and promotion from work, praises from the family members and acceptance from old friends.  Those used to matter a lot to me because it made me feel good about myself and gave me the drive to do more and gain more.  I’ve deliberately lost them because they are meaningless pursuit. Another thing I have deliberately “lost” more and more is the claim of ownership over my life and my schedule.  Though this area of my life is work in progress, God has been at work to loosen the grip I have to control my life and my schedule (to use it only for myself and my interest, and little for others). But since becoming a Christian and a minister, like Dr. Ajith put it, my schedule at times is at the mercy of those I’m ministering to and the different needs that come up.  Though I had thought it would have been more frustrating to somewhat lose control in this way, it’s been actually more freeing as my options for life becomes “narrowly” focused to loving God and loving people. I have also deliberately “lost” the control over my possessions as well, giving what I can and have to meet the needs around me.  I have deliberately “lost” or surrendered the people in my life – those whom I wanted to control or wanted for my personal gain or for a source of security.  This was approval of my parents, the nature of relationship with my husband, the result-oriented way of relating to those I’m ministering to.  I have learned to surrender them to Christ because He is in control and they belong to Him. There are many more areas that I need to “lose” for the sake of Christ.  In doing so, I am living out the fact that Jesus is my Master and Lord in all areas, not just in the areas that I’m comfortable in letting go.  And in doing so, it reveals that I trust in Jesus.  Through it, I also give the same confession that though these things used to matter a lot to me, now they’re pale in comparison to doing what Jesus tells me and growing closer in my intimate fellowship with Him.

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11 Responses to “Philippians 3:1-11 Devotion Sharing”

  1. ang says:

    Reading both of your sharings helped me personalize this passage more deeply. I could really relate to what you’ve both written. Thank you.

  2. ek says:

    thanks for sharing your insights.

  3. AC says:

    Thanks for sharing

  4. Shufei Lei says:

    God is indeed faithful.

  5. JP says:

    thanks for sharing!

  6. cpeng says:

    thanks for sharing.

  7. NW says:

    Thanks for the encouraging sharing!

  8. Dave says:

    thanks for the reminder that the only confidence we can have is in God.

  9. John says:

    thank you for the sharing!

  10. DK says:

    Thank you for sharing your DT! I as well as a lot of students are blessed by the sharing!

  11. Kim says:

    thanks for sharing!

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