S (Scripture): Philippians 3:6 In my zeal for God I persecuted the church. According to the righteousness stipulated in the law I was blameless. 3:7 But these assets I have come to regard as liabilities because of Christ. 3:8 More than that, I now regard all things as liabilities compared to the far greater value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things – indeed, I regard them as dung! – that I may gain Christ, 3:9 and be found in him, not because I have my own righteousness derived from the law, but because I have the righteousness that comes by way of Christ’s faithfulness – a righteousness from God that is in fact based on Christ’s faithfulness.
O (Observation): Paul recalls his zeal for God in his life as a Pharisee. He was on fire for God, but he was so focused on his own achievements before God, that he missed God’s purpose: love and mercy to the world.
Paul (Saul, at the time) was indeed focused on earning God’s good graces (a pile of dung : ) Now, in this letter to the church in Philippi, he remembers the error of his ways. He thought HIS OWN faithfulness was most important. He reminds the church that JESUS’ OWN FAITHFULNESS is the key.
A (Application): This text brings me back again to the Covenant triangle a tool we can use to remember God entering into an everlasting relationship with us. God the Father instills in us Identity as God’s sons and daughters. From this Identity flows our Obedience. Being on fire for God is great, when it happens in this way.
When we try to reverse this flow, when we try to use Obedience to gain our Identity as God’s children, we become Pharisees. Why? Because in this backwards order, we start with ME! Being on fire for God in this way creates a crusade mindset that can only lead to anger or judgment.
How is your pursuit going these days? Are you starting from Identity or Obedience these days? We can all change, for the better or for the worse. Let us pray that God keeps us in check. Let us hope for a relationship with God that starts with Him, and ends with our Obedience to Him.
P (Prayer): Lord, keep us on the path you have laid out for us. Amen.