What do I put my confidence in?
This is an important question, because what and where I put my confidence in is what I rely upon. It is what I turn to in time of trouble. It is what gives me my security. It is what I constantly check on and tend to. It is what I protect and value. Because the STATUS of what I rely upon determines the LEVEL of my confidence.
Or in other words, it determines how confident am I in what I put my confidence in.
That confusing sentence actually makes sense because most of the things I am tempted to put my confidence in are fragile and changeable and dependent upon either my actions or the actions of others. And let’s be honest, both my actions and other’s actions are pretty flimsy and unreliable places to rest.
In Philippians 3:3 Paul states that he “puts no confidence in the flesh.” And then in the next three verses he lists all the things he could put his confidence in, if he DID rely upon the flesh. He lists all the places of his own actions where he could put his trust in….if he wanted. And it is a pretty impressive list.
My list looks significantly different that Paul’s. Paul had both a stellar Jewish pedigree and vocation. I am not a Hebrew or a Pharisee. I have never really been very good at keeping the Law. I view Speed Limits as suggestions to people who don’t drive well.
My list is more earthy. My “confidence temptation list” consists of bank accounts and academic achievements and my children’s academic (or business or social or personal) achievements and completed To Do lists and stock portfolios and zero balances on the credit card and a clean, organized house.
I have a rather interesting list of financial security and personal achievement on my “List”, don’t I? I guess because if I have enough money I feel secure and if everyone (including myself) is doing well I feel successful.
But I don't think God wants me to feel secure or successful in anything or anyone but Himself!
One of the ways I KNOW that I know that God is at work in my life is that He has pretty much been taking every single thing that I am tempted to put my confidence in and He has been actively “shaking it up” and turning it upside-down. It is pretty hard to put your confidence in ANYTHING that is upside-down!
I guess God shook up Paul’s “List” too, because in Phil 3:8 Paul states that he has “suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish.”
Wow. How did Paul get to the place that rather than complaining and mourning his losses, he instead counted them as rubbish? If you get around to thinking of the "stuff" as rubbish you would be glad to get rid of it! It would be like getting the trash taken out!
He probably was able to have his view of his "confidence list" stuff changed because of what he previously told us in Phil. 3:7: “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.”
What this means is that no matter how well or how poorly the things of Paul’s list were going….no matter ….compared to knowing Christ….they were a loss.
Phil 3:8: "Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.”
So if I am counting all the stuff as loss then it wouldn't matter how well or poorly something was going. Because compared to knowing Christ it is just all a bunch of trash in big black trash bags!
That means that no matter how much money is in the bank or how well my child did on the SAT or how perfect my house looks, compared to knowing Jesus it is like:
- the bank closing, or
- losing my job, or
- the stock market crashing, or
- the house burning down...with no insurance, or
- failing out of college, or
- the car being totaled, or....
I think you get the idea. Just think of the freedom of being released from the care and the concern and the tending and the management of the stuff. I could be free and COMPLETELY AVAILABLE to get to know my Lord more.
...forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 3:13,14
So today I choose to:
- put no confidence in the flesh
- count everything as loss
- put it behind me
- forget about what lies behind me
- listen to the upward call
- press forward
- right into the arms of Jesus.