Part 3: It’s Not About Me

Introduction:
Past performance is worthless. If salvation were based on genetics and Jewish laws, Paul would do well. Paul has everything the legalism people/Judaizers (living according to Jewish customs) have, and more. He was born a Jew, educated in Judea, zealous even by the standards of the strictest group. He did everything he could, but it was not enough. Not because he failed, but because even at its best, the old approach does not work. He had to start over. “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” (3:7-8) In the same vein our accomplishments, successes, victories, knowledge is equally worthless for salvation. And it can be harmful if someone trusts in it or it becomes a substitute for God. Only Christ counts; only He is of value for our relationship to God. Paul wants something far more valuable than anything legalism can offer, and that is Christ.

Something To Talk About:
From Pride to humility. From focusing on what we have done to what Christ has done for us. It is probably safe to say that humility is the one character quality that will enable us to be all Christ wants us to be. We cannot come to God without it. We cannot love God supremely without it. We cannot be an effective witness for Christ without it. We cannot love and serve others without it. We cannot lead in a godly way without it. In short, we must embrace and live out humility in order to truly live and be who God means for us to be. But selfishness comes pretty naturally for most of us. But I encourage you pinpoint one or two areas where you need to grow in humility/putting off selfishness (time, possessions, money, serving, relationships, opportunities). Once you have identified those areas of struggle, commit them to God in prayer asking him to replace your selfishness with selflessness. But please understand that we all have a ways to go. And while we may never have this down, we can make progress, even if we move forward through small, incremental steps.

Questions:
1. Paul has many advantages (upbringing, achievement, education, birth) that he could have trusted in. Paul says that all his advantages are garbage so he could know Christ. Do you count your past (whether good or bad) as rubbish, as irrelevant?
2. Make a mental list of all the reasons we can do it or make it on our own and refuse a helping hand out of pride?
3. Humility understands that it is not about me. The goal is not to be labeled “humble.” Humility is an action not a style. The goal is to act humbly and the responsibility is ours. What does that mean in real life. What’s holding you back?
4. What are some of the substitutes for God in our lives?
5. Pray for an attitude of humility and self-­?sacrifice, one that looks first to the interests of others.

Take One Thing Home With You:
Used cars. You buy one with low miles and an overhauled engine, new brakes and suspension. Should give you years of of faithful service. Within 3 months the radiator gives out followed by the engine, then the brakes, the alternator and finally the fuel pump. An experience like this reminds me of the Apostle Paul and his salvation experience, as he describes it in Philippians 3:2-11. The used car looked good, but it was a lemon to say the least. The Apostle Paul was a devout Jew; in fact, he was a zealous Pharisee. From all outward appearances, Paul was the best specimen of legalism there was. But when the risen Savior confronted him on the road to Damascus, Paul came to recognize that he was a “lemon,” spiritually speaking. After he came to faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior, Paul’s whole value system was inverted. In Philippians 3:7-11, Paul tells us how the things he formerly viewed as assets he now looked upon as liabilities, because of Christ. And now, those things that he once looked on as liabilities Paul recognized as assets. We too should evaluate what we see as assets and what we see as liabilities in the same light.