Paul repeats his theme throughout Philippians: “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you”(Phil 3:1). Sometimes we need to hear important truths again and again; this is “safe.” He warns the Philippians about a group of people who promote a dangerous mentality: “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”(Phil 3:2-3). He is probably referring to Judaizing teachers who emphasize the need for Gentiles to be circumcised to be saved (“those who mutilate the flesh”). Christians “put no confidence in the flesh,” meaning we do not rest our hope of salvation on anything done to our bodies.
But Paul takes “confidence in the flesh” further. “though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless”(Phil 3:4-6). Paul lists his resume as a Jew. He has much to commend him and give him confidence in himself, trusting in his own physical heritage and accomplishments. “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ”(Phil 3:7). These things are unimportant in Christ. Christians “glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh”(Phil 3:3).
All of us have unique talents and admirable attributes. Sometimes we, like Paul previously did, assemble mental resumes that tell others how impressive and important we are. When we come to Jesus, though, it is no longer about us. We glory in what Jesus has done for us. He is our confidence.
------------- One Thing to Think About: How am I tempted to have confidence in myself?
One Thing to Pray For: Awareness of my tendency to trust myself rather than Jesus