3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit,rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith (Philippians 3:3-9 NKJV)
I was just reading an article on ESPN.com by Chris Jones about Michael Jordan’s sons living under the shadow of their father, who just happens to be the greatest basketball player of all time. Both Marcus and Jeffrey Jordan are great basketball players in their own rights, but to live as “heir-Jordans?”… Even Michael Jordan himself was quoted speaking about his three children:
“You guys have a heavy burden. I wouldn’t want to be you guys if I had to.”
Being a pastors kid myself, I know the pressures to have been somewhat put on a pedestal for others to expect a certain level of esteemed behaviour from. I’m thinking about my Dad, and how gracious he was with me, giving me plenty of room to find my own identity in Christ, rather than impose upon me ministry. (I wanted to be like Kanye West before there was Kanye West, rapping and producing hip hop records for crying out loud… Not sure if Dad was ever happy about that.)
Give Up or Die Trying
In a world that celebrates trying harder to make your own niche, what if I was to tell you that at the core of the Gospel message at the cross of Jesus Christ, was not for us to strive or press towards becoming a better version of ourselves.
It would be actually the opposite: GIVE UP!
So when the apostle Paul writes that he counts all of his accolades as a studied and practicing holy Pharisee of the highest order “rubbish” in comparison to knowing God through the cross, it causes us to ask, why do we in this world try to even make a life for ourselves here?
Nothing wrong with making a life. It’s just dependent on where we are intending to make that life. I’m choosing to give it up and fall into the ocean of grace made available for all of us at the cross.
Discussion/Reflection Question: Do you ever find yourself “trying” in order to find yourself? If so, what would hold you back from falling into the arms of a God who not only can give us life, but IS life?