June 22 I Wednesday
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know Me...”
If any Jew had reason to boast for having the most outstanding résumé in terms of family background, education and occupation, we would have to say it is Paul. He was circumcised on the eighth day, from the tribe of Benjamin, where he was a Hebrew of Hebrews. Although he lived in Tarsus and Seleucia, he was educated under Gamaliel, a famous Jewish teacher of the day, and learned to be proficient in the Hebrew language and scriptures. He studied the law and was a Pharisee with such great zeal that he persecuted the Christian church.
After stating all his qualities, Paul tells us, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ...” (Philippians 3:7-8 ESV). We see that the word Paul repeats throughout this verse is “loss.” Soberly, he considers all his credentials and qualifications as loss and rubbish.
Paul gave everything up so “that [he] may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of [his] own that comes from the law...” (Philippians 3:8-9). Paul’s impressive résumé catalogued his own righteousness but righteousness that comes from God has nothing to do with that. Paul reminds us that our righteousness comes “through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith” (Philippians 3:9). This is not a produced righteousness but a received righteousness.
If our relationship with God is based on what we did, some of us would have an advantage over others because some are more disciplined and self-confident than others. But the marvelous thing is that the weaker we know ourselves to be and the less confident we are in ourselves, the more likely we are going to put our confidence exclusively in God and say, “This is not what I do for You, but what You do for me.”
No matter how strong our résumé is, our righteousness does not derive from what we do for God because it’s all rubbish. When we stop trying to justify ourselves through our qualifications and start believing in faith that our righteousness is found in Christ, even when we consider everything we have in life as a loss, we have gained the most precious treasure—to be found in Him.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I consider all my life a loss in order to gain You. Thank You that my righteousness is not based on my own abilities but on Your finished work on the cross. Praise You!