Reading for Thursday, Aug 9: Philippians 3
Philippians 3 is one of the most lyrical chapters in the Bible. Paul takes us to lofty heights as he describes the act of forsaking earthly treasure for the sake of knowing Christ. “Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” (v7). These “losses” pale in comparison to the richness of our inheritance through Christ — “the power of his resurrection” made known in us. But this is not merely eloquent, flowery talk: Paul also acknowledges the painful reality of suffering (v10) and straining (v13) in the flesh. Paul matches the lofty grandeur of God’s promissory language with a humble recognition of his own imperfection. “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own,” (v12). The pain, the suffering, and the strain is mitigated by the truth of Christ’s adoption — He has made me His own!
Armed with this truth, we can press forward “toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” (v14). We are mindful of those who would oppose us as we journey, of the “enemies of the cross” (v18). But we remain undeterred, for “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself,” (v20-21).