This Week’s Reading: Philippians 3
Whenever I read about the people of the Bible, I’m always astounded by how idiotic and stubborn they can be. They have an almighty God protecting them and freeing them from bondage, and they are worshiping idols?!
And then I realize that I’m not really all that different. I, too, forget how good God can be. I forget I have no need to be afraid because He is with me.
As Christians we tend to be, as my pastor would say, Monumental Forgetters. The Israelites of the Old Testament? They were the original Monumental Forgetters. But with each generation of believers, that tendency to forget remains.
Even now, I don’t mean to forget about who God is, but I find myself forgetting to pray, being fearful, and forgetting that I am loved by God. As monumental forgetters, we need reminders. Luckily for us, we have Philippians 3, full of those sweet reminders.
Some of the best reminders come in the first three verses:
“Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you. Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,” –Philippians 3:1-3
Reminder #1: Rejoice.
It’s something I don’t do very often. Yet, it should be a integral part of each of our days. God is not only our source of joy but the reason for it. He has done so much for us, and He is constantly at work. As long as we have breath, we have a reason to rejoice!
Reminder #2: Look out for evildoers.
Be vigilant, friends! If we are not careful, we can find ourselves distracted and tempted by the world around us. But God tells us to choose Him, to choose to live apart from the evildoers of the world. In Him, we can say no to sin.
Reminder #3: We are God’s chosen people.
We should act differently than others. Our confidence should not come from the flesh. Our confidence should be in the One who set us free from sin. Paul continues by saying that he, out of anyone, would have confidence in the flesh because in the eyes of the law, he was “blameless” in his former life before he met Christ.
But Jesus’ teachings say otherwise. Without Him — the way, the truth, the life — our confidence will be misplaced. Most importantly, our confidence shouldn’t lie within ourselves. The only way to righteousness comes through faith in Christ.
And we have to remember to hold onto these truths in good times and bad.
For a while now, I’ve been in excruciating pain because of a toothache. The solution was obviously to go to the dentist, but I tried to ignore it. With a bit of coaxing, I’ve set up an appointment and started taking pain medication. I could literally do back flips because I am so relieved the pain is gone.
We can sometimes treat God as just a pain reliever, instead of who we should devote our lives to. It can become all about us.
When we’re in pain, it’s easy to remember we need the next dose. But when we’re not? We tend to forget all about medication. It gets tossed in the back of our pantries. Just like the Israelites, we can be tempted to call on God when we are in the midst of trouble, but we tend to put Him on the back burner once we’re out of our Egypt.
God isn’t just a pain reliever — He is the source of all we need every good or bad day. He’s our reason for being, our provider, protector and Father. He’s the pain reliever in our season of pain but the joy in every season. Pain is temporary, fleeting even. Yet sometimes we allow it to take over our lives. It becomes the only thing we focus on.
Reminder #4: Our citizenship is in heaven.
“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 3:13-14
Whatever our pain is, a toothache or something much worse, compared to the glory that will be heaven? We have a beautiful and amazing gift.A God who is there every step of the way. We have no need for fear and always have a need for God.
As monumental forgetters, take time to remind yourself who God is. It is one of the most important things we will do in our lives. Take time to rejoice and spend time with God today.