Verse of the Day Devotion: Philippians 3:3
“For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” – Philippians 3:3
It is quite amazing to me how much truth is revealed to us by the Lord into one simple short Verse of Scripture. Within the context of these words is hidden a reality that probably most sincere believers in Jesus’ deal with and maybe are not even aware of it. Preceding this Verse, Paul warns the believers in Philippi to “…Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!” (VS2). Back then, just as today, there are more than enough ‘religious’ teachers and so-called ‘Christian teachers’ that are like spiritual watchdogs and actually evil in their work ‘in the name of Christ’ and they probably don’t even know it. How can that be? In a nutshell, within all their sincerity and conviction, I think they ‘add’ many things to the completed work of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection and promote those ‘works’ to be absolutely necessary in all regards towards a person, both in considering one’s salvation and in their being in right standing with God on a daily basis. In very practical terms they just honestly do not believe that what Jesus did for us was enough.
In the Philippians case, one of the sincere teachings they were hearing from the pulpit and within the larger circle of Christians was to ‘be physically circumcised’ if you REALLY want to be pleasing with God. But this is not the truth. “Indeed, I Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing” (Galatians 5:2). These believers in Philippi were hearing from people within their own congregation the opposite of what Paul had taught them! And those well-meaning law-abiding religious teachers were wrong. Circumcision in Christ is of the heart, not of the flesh, and the surgery is done by Christ’s power – not yours. In Christ, circumcision is a spiritual cutting-off of the power of the flesh nature. Physical circumcision for a believer profit nothing at all to change a heart or have the possibility of being a ‘new creation’ in Christ. If you are truly circumcised within your heart by the Lord, the next two statements in this Verse become a reality and a consistent desire within your life. Be encouraged greatly by these two statements.
Number one, you will “…worship God in the Spirit…”. Did you know that it is possible to try and worship God apart from the Spirit? Unfortunately, I think we fall into this trap more often than admitted. You sincerely just want to do better ‘next time’ and so you pull up your bootstraps and hunker down a little more and make a few more ‘I Promise’ statements to yourself. I have fallen into this trap more than once, believe me. But folks, any attempt to being a worshipper of the Lord apart from the Spirit’s presence, leading, guiding, and prompting will be of the flesh. “Are you foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). We do not have to walk in the Spirit – we GET to! By God’s power in Christ and by His grace, we GET to and that is a cause for great rejoicing.
Number two, you will “…rejoice in Christ Jesus…”. Your times of rejoicing will not come about because of your successes compared to your failures throughout a day or week. Your times of rejoicing will come about when you recognize that any and all of the good things that develop out of your life in Christ are BECAUSE of Christ. Just because of Him. Of Who He is. You will rejoice within your heart in what He has already done for you in His completeness. You are already spiritually blessed in Christ beyond calculation and imagination. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who HAS blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ…” (Ephesians 1:3). Yet thousands of well-intended Christians are seeking more spiritual blessings – from proclaimed Christian leaders leading the masses falsely saying you can have ‘more’. Ummmm? Yet, God in His Word has already told us that in Christ, the Father HAS (past tense) already blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing! Oh, how wonderful this is! This is why Paul can say to the Philippians to rejoice in Christ Jesus. You do not have to jump through additional religious hoops to attain God’s favor anymore! Therefore, Paul instructs these Philippians in a very pointed, direct, profound, life-changing and universe-altering statement what they must be aware in their Christian walk: “….have no confidence in the flesh…”! Do you hear that?? Do you ‘really’ hear that? “BUT what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ” (Vs 7). Doing religious (Christian religious) “things” in the flesh is simply loss. The ‘more’ of whatever it is that you might be seeking is already in HIM. Be encouraged and admonished. Do NOT place any of your confidence in your flesh. Place your confidence in the completely work of Christ that He has done for you already. Be with Him. Spend time with Him. Talk with Him. Listen to Him.
Jaca Kier, Board Member, True Devotion Ministries, Inc.