Luther Seminary God Pause
Wednesday, 10/1/2014 Reading: Philippians 3:4-14
I realize I have too much stuff. This collection of "abundance" is partly due to the mindset of our consumer culture regarding success. More is better, bigger is better. Also, perhaps like me, you hold on to things of the past: class notes, a whole wardrobe in a different size and even duplicates, just in case something breaks. For many of us, storage options, yard sales, charitable recycling all become the focus to find order in our home, work and even worship spaces.
This realization of misdirected gain also comes when we recognize what we own, what we have achieved and particularly our self-assessed "righteousness" is, as Paul says, so much rubbish. He confesses his desire instead to "gain Christ, and be found in him." In the same way we might ask, what unnecessary or even counter-productive things does the church hold onto, just in case? Like Paul, what matters in our seeking to be righteous under the law need to give way to faith in Christ?
Almighty God, as you call us individually and as the church in Christ, help us to recognize gain as not having a righteousness of our own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ. Open our eyes and ears to your righteousness. Amen.>
Julianne Barlow (Koivisto) Assistant to the Bishop for Mission, Synod of Alberta and the Territories, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada Calgary, Alberta Doctor of Ministry, 2012
Philippians 3:4-14 (NRSV)
4 even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh. If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.
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