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The power of Jesus' resurrection at work in Paul’s life

April 6, 2024

Daily Scripture

Philippians 3:7-13

7 These things were my assets, but I wrote them off as a loss for the sake of Christ. 8 But even beyond that, I consider everything a loss in comparison with the superior value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have lost everything for him, but what I lost I think of as sewer trash, so that I might gain Christ 9 and be found in him. In Christ I have a righteousness that is not my own and that does not come from the Law but rather from the faithfulness of Christ. It is the righteousness of God that is based on faith. 10 The righteousness that I have comes from knowing Christ, the power of his resurrection, and the participation in his sufferings. It includes being conformed to his death 11 so that I may perhaps reach the goal of the resurrection of the dead.
12 It’s not that I have already reached this goal or have already been perfected, but I pursue it, so that I may grab hold of it because Christ grabbed hold of me for just this purpose. 13 Brothers and sisters, I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

As we’ve seen this week, the apostle Paul closely linked Jesus’ resurrection with the resurrection of all those who put their trust in him (1 Thessalonians 4:14, Romans 6:5, 1 Corinthians 15:22-24). That was never abstract for him—it was a powerfully personal reality that shaped his life and his ministry. He expressed it at the heart of today’s reading: “The righteousness that I have comes from knowing Christ, the power of his resurrection.” As elsewhere, other teachers followed Paul into Philippi, telling the new Christians their salvation depended on obeying ancient rituals. Paul wrote if we could save ourselves by religious performance, he’d be glad to put his record up against anyone (cf., Philippians 3:3-6). But that would mean trusting in his own power, not the power of Jesus’ resurrection. He chose to “write off” those human claims, and trust in Christ’s resurrection power to guide him through this life and into the next with Jesus in eternity.

  • Paul used an accounting metaphor. He said he already owned all the spiritual “assets” the false teachers wanted the Philippian Christians to accumulate. But he didn’t see them as “pluses” at all, not when compared to Jesus, his risen Savior and Lord. What human accomplishments or status symbols do you take the most pride in? How easy or hard is it for you to find your ultimate identity and confidence in your status as a child of God, even if that means “writing off” the human credentials as central to your value and uniqueness? Methodist scholar Maxie Dunnam wrote, “It is not the external things that count, but what has happened and is happening inside…. Paul chose not to boast except about what Christ had done for him.” * What has Christ’s resurrection power done for you? In what ways has it reshaped your external behaviors, not by your own teeth-gritting effort, but as a Spirit-driven change coming “from the inside out”?

Lord Jesus, l join Paul in focusing all my love, all my confidence, all my faith on you. Be the eternal “power source” in whom all my trust resides. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Brent Messick

Brent Messick

Brent Messick, now retired, formerly served as Church of the Resurrection’s Managing Executive Director of Operations.

I do not think it was a coincidence that today’s Scripture passage was assigned to me. In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he uses financial terms like assets, write-offs, losses, and value. Paul boasts about his personal accomplishments before he came to know Christ. Yet, he is willing to disregard these assets for the sake of getting to know and to grow in Christ.

I have worked in finance and operations throughout most of my career. In fact, I worked as the Chief Financial Officer at the Church of the Resurrection for 15 years before I retired in 2018. During my tenure at Resurrection, we made some big accomplishments. We launched new church locations at West, Blue Springs and Downtown. At Leawood, we built the new sanctuary and renovated Building B. 

It would be easy for me to give myself credit for these assets, patting myself on the back and saying, “Look what I accomplished.” I am very proud of being a part of building these assets. But similar to Paul, I write-off them off as personal accomplishments, and give full credit to Christ and to the team of people that I was privileged to work with. I thank Him for blessing us with the abilities and opportunities to do this work for God’s kingdom.

Similarly, I would encourage all of us value our relationship with God. We tend to pray to Him just in our times of trials and tribulations. We should recognize that all things come from God. Accordingly, we should also remember to pray to God when things are going well and give Him thanks for the blessings in our lives.

I love how Paul ends this Scripture passage when he says, “I forget about things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me.” I used to take God’s blessings for granted. Now, I look forward to them and, hopefully, I can use them to be a blessing to others.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Maxie Dunnam, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 31: Galatians / Ephesians / Philippians / Colossians / Philemon. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982, p. 287.