Saturday, March 23, 2013

March 23, 2013 … No Confidence in My Flesh

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 82

Passage of the Day: Philippians 3: 4 [In the context of verses 1-4] [NLT] …  
1 Whatever happens, dear brothers and sisters, may the Lord give you joy. I never get tired of telling you this. I am doing this for your own good. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those wicked men and their evil deeds, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. 3 For we who worship God in the Spirit are the only ones who are truly circumcised. We put no confidence in human effort. Instead, we boast about what Christ Jesus has done for us.  
4 Yet I could have confidence in myself if anyone could. If others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more!  
Contextual Study of today’s passage: Philippians, Chapter 3 [NLT] … Go to this link … 

Reference Passage #1: Jeremiah 17: 9 : [In the context of verses 7-10 ] …[NKJV] …  
7 “But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. 8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit. 9 “The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? 10 But I know! I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” 

Reference Study #2 : 2nd Corinthians, Chapter 11: 16-32 [NLT] … Go to this link … 

My Journal for Today: In writing his letter to his friends back in Philippi from a prison in Rome [see today’s highlight passage], if there was anyone who could have confidence in his own accomplishments, strength, and purpose, it was the Apostle Paul. In fact, if we go back to 2nd Corinthians, Chapter 11 linked above, we read of all he had been through, … shipwrecks, floggings, rejection, and many other life-threatening trials. And Paul, who was formerly a well-recognized and considered Jewish leader in the Sanhedrin, was totally unwilling to put any confidence in his own personal prowess. … NO, … when one studies the Pauline writings from his letters to Philippi and Corinth, Paul clearly stated that his confidence and assertiveness came only from His relationship and dependence on Christ.

Paul recognized the truth to which all Christians must rely upon; and that is the FACT that we cannot rely on our own human strength and selfish reckoning. Jeremiah’s writing about the human “heart,” in his letter (in Jer. 17: 9 – a passage I end up referring back to often in my devotionals) totally nails this truth. Relying on self and rejecting our Savior, is just flat-out foolishness. Because our human heart is WICKED and will always lead us astray, back into selfishness, … that is, if we relent to our own spirit to guide us. And Paul had come to realize this; and was preaching it to those Christians he loved back in Philippi and Corinth in the passages to which Os Hillman refers us today.

 The question is … DO WE GET IT!  And unfortunately, many of us, and most certainly yours truly, tend to easily default back to the flesh or to our own sense of direction when we are challenged in life. And we want to impress others with our own direction and accomplishments, don’t we? But we need to learn the lesson Paul had learned when he confidently told the Corinthians (see 1st Cor. 11: 1 - NLT), " … And you should follow my example, just as I follow Christ’s. ”

Paul got it; and in his writings above he was trying to pass the truth of our need to surrender to Christ to his fellow Christians (and yes, that’s you and me!). And only when we get that message and surrender in obedience to our Lord will we be able to glean the grace and strength Christ has for us through His Spirit to handle the pressures and challenges of life. … Personally, I choose the surrender route.

How about you?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I know how weak I am and recognize how strong You are. I yield! … Amen

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