Prayer: Christ Jesus, we praise you for the righteousness that you graciously give through faith in you. Keep our eyes set on the prize you call us towards in heaven so that we may love and serve you all of our days. In your name, Amen
Reading: Philippians 3: 4b-14 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: Paul was and is a very celebrated individual. And I am sure that many of us have accomplished marvelous things of the flesh that are to be celebrated as well. In today’s scripture selection we see that Paul is very adamant against putting our confidence and self-worth in those fleshy accomplishments (like grades, promotions, and awards). He does not mean that we should not celebrate our dedication and hard work towards these passions in our lives; what he does want to emphasize is that we as Christians must find our confidence and self-worth in our heavenly identity. Things of the flesh are fleeting. If we identify ourselves by these fleshy things- our grades, our sports performance, our job- we will find ourselves lost when they fail.
God’s love for us is perfect; when we place our confidence in Him and what he graciously gives to us then will we be fulfilled. That is what Paul means by considering everything a loss for the sake of Christ- to consider our fleshy accomplishments as garbage in comparison to what He has accomplished for us and our salvation. So I encourage you to press on towards the heavenly prize that Christ has already won for us. I cannot promise you that the race will always be easy or that you will always understand it all. But I do know that God knows what we need and He will provide.
“I put my focus on worthless things
Even the strong fall to their knees
God only knows what we all need” “Wrecking Ball (Press On)” by Building 429
(Please check out this song that connects well with today’s reading)
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