Philippians 3:1-11

Writing Spiritual Resumés

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. Philippians 3:7-8

When a worker composes a resumé, he records his work experience, emphasizing achievements and abilities. He minimizes anything that might make him look bad, such as how often he changed jobs or why he left a job. He presents future goals and tells how he intends to accomplish them through the job he’s seeking. Hopefully, a potential employer will be pleased and hire him.

When Paul presented his resumé to the Philippians, he listed his substantial Jewish credentials. He could prove his lineage in the tribe of Benjamin, and he had been circumcised on the eighth day (3:4-6). He had been trained as a Pharisee; he was devoted to strict observance of the law. Paul had zealously persecuted Jews who were threatening traditional Judaism with beliefs about a man named Jesus who they claimed had been resurrected. He thought his actions pleased God.

But one day, knocked to the ground and blinded by brilliant light, Paul met the risen Jesus Christ. He was alive!

Paul’s world was turned upside-down. He realized God was not pleased by those who boasted in their own accomplishments, but by those who served Him by the Spirit (v. 3). All that had been gain to Paul became loss (v. 7). His future goals now included knowing Christ as his Lord, “for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage that I may gain Christ” (v. 8). He wanted to be found in Him, not having a righteousness of his own that came from the law, but that which came from God through faith in Christ (v. 9).

Moreover, Paul wanted to know the power of Christ’s resurrection. He wanted to participate in Christ’s sufferings, becoming like Him in His death and so somehow attain “to the resurrection from the dead” (vv.10-11).

If you were to write your spiritual resumé, would you boast in accomplishments that bring you glory or those that bring glory to God? Would you include the future goals Paul presented? How about that last one—participating in Christ’s sufferings? Would the results be worth the pain?

DIG DEEPER:    

Some people don’t understand how suffering can be part of the Christian life. According to 1 Peter 1:3-9, what does suffering produce in our lives? What does Peter say we already have (even if we don’t see it now) and what we will receive one day?

Read Jeremiah 9:23-24. What does Jeremiah say about true confidence and boasting? What does God want us to know about Him?

Need spiritual power? See what Jesus prayed for us in Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer under Dig into Prayers.

Nancy J. Baker

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