Read Philippians 3:4-9
“I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord.” – Paul (Philippians 3:8 ESV)
“You can do it!” – some of you can still see the infomercial man in your head. You know the really fit guy who sold the Gazelle elliptical machines. The infomercial went on to promise that with just minutes a day you could have the body you always wanted. When many of us watch an infomercial like this one, we can see through the scam – it is really too good to be true.
The problem is that many of us take the infomercial “You can do it” philosophy and apply it to our Christian lives. We think that if we work hard enough, attend church enough, read the Bible enough, and act moral enough that we will make it to heaven and live a “good Christian life.”
If we were to look for a list of “all star Christians,” the Apostle Paul would probably be on the list. He had a past that was shady, but he became a leader in the early church and wrote many of our favorite books in the New Testament. Paul was a Christian example to be followed. If anyone could do it, surely Paul could.
In Philippians 3:4-9, Paul lists his accomplishments. In today’s world, they would read something like this:
- Born in church.
- Christian parents.
- Perfect rule keeper.
- Morally perfect person.
Though Paul followed all of the rules and jumped through all of the right religious hoops, he did not find his confidence in any of it. Paul understood that his hope for living a life that honored Jesus was not in being a good rule follower but in understanding that Jesus had followed the rules perfectly in Paul’s place. Paul’s hope was not in the fact that he was doing good things, but that Jesus had done great things on Paul’s behalf – namely, dying in his place for his sins.
The hope of following Jesus is found not in doing but in surrendering to the fact that Jesus has done it for us. We live in freedom because we have been set free from the penalty of sin and are free to live in light of our new identity in Jesus.
We must remember as Tim Keller said “Christianity, unlike all other religions, is not something you do, but something God has done.” As Christians, we need to have confidence based on the truth of Jesus’ finished work instead of believing the lie of “You can do it!”
Jesus, help me to embrace the art of surrender. Help me to follow You by understanding that You desire a relationship with me. I trust You and love You! Amen.
Thought for the Day
Our Christian confidence is based not on our performance but on Jesus’ perfect performance on our behalf.