Priorities in Christ Jesus

Galatians 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Right now our society seems to be edging closer to an implosion as fears are propelling people react in anger and choosing sides without little, if any sense of trying to understand others who hold a different point of view, even when they’re friends or relatives. So many are refusing to listen to both sides, to attempt to grasp why the person holds to their persuasion, refusing to try to listen without preconceived prejudice.

Fear drives anger which feeds on self-righteous presumptions growing into selfish rage. We’re seeing this on many levels.

What is our response as Christians?
1) First and foremost: prayer! Serious, intentional prayer for God’s intervention and will to be manifest.
Prayer for God’s wisdom and discernment.
2) Remember we are called to love and be peacemakers. Jesus never advocated agitators.  He never called on His people to become embroiled in things of earth but to be Kingdom people.

Recap of last week Phil 2:12 – 30:
1) Desire to grow and mature in Him
2) Work out His good purpose
3) No Grumbling, no arguing
4) Blameless, innocent :  
Simplicity of character without corruption
5) Shine like stars
6) Hold firmly to the message of Life Hold on, don’t let go of God’s good news. The Gospel of Jesus Christ which will result in eternity with God.

Philippians 3:1 seems to conclude that passage since Paul writes, “Finally, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.”

Rejoice! When we focus on rejoicing fear subsides and we become more attuned to God.

Perhaps Paul was interrupted at this point, or maybe he just needed a break for verse 2 seems to be an abrupt change in tone and focus:

Beware the dogs! Watch out for the dogs! To call anyone a dog was highly insulting. The Jewish people viewed dogs as contemptable, unclean, scavengers. They referred to Gentiles as dogs. Paul uses the term as a shock factor directed at Jewish Christians who were demanding the Gentile Christians to become circumcised. Instead of writing the word for circumcision he deliberately uses the word that means “Mutilate the flesh” “cutting the flesh” which was expressly forbidden in the Mosaic Law.

We need to be on guard against believers who call for action that is contrary to what Jesus calls us to, instead being people who shine like stars in this dark world, holding out hope as peacemakers and people of prayer.

verse 3 Paul goes on to clarify that rather than people of circumcision of the flesh, we are people of God’s work:

1) people who worship by the Spirit of God
2) people who boast in Christ Jesus – boast in this case means “to glory in”, “to exult in”
3) people who have no confidence in the flesh – in external privileges

4-6 Paul lists his inherited privileges of birth, of education, of his merits – including his zeal as a Pharisee who kept the legalistic points of the law to such a degree that he was blameless!

By virtual of his birth, of his mastery of the Hebrew language, his educations and achievements he lets them know that he has the right to praise, acclaim, and authority.

But,
7 He counts them as rubbish, as filthy garbage, even as dung – as some translations put it. All these earthly achievements and privilege of birth are nothing compared to Jesus!

8-11 The surpassing value of Jesus, and worth of personally knowing God! To live for Jesus is our highest calling. It must be our aim and goal in life.

13 – 16 Forgetting the past, reaching forward to what lies ahead! Press to the goal of the prize of Jesus Christ – eternal life! The past is behind us, we can’t change a thing about it so it does no good to dwell on it or to fixate on the way things were but to look ahead, to press into, the Kingdom of God.

As believers we need to be praying, seriously praying for God’s will, wisdom and intervention. Not only in our nation and between people but for ourselves. We must pray for clarity of God’s discernment and will in our individual lives. We must hold each other up in prayer. The temptations to become embroiled in the world’s polarizations are strong at times. We need to focus on Jesus, on rejoicing in Him. Rejoice in Jesus, let go of fear and turmoil.

Don’t try to be a people pleaser, you can never please everyone.
Instead, please Jesus Christ!

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