2022 Lenten Devotional - Llima Berkley on Philippians 3:4b-14
Philippians 3:4b-14 (New Revised Standard Version
4b If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.
Although some of us may have experienced the loss of something (a job position, possession of value, perhaps of little value, but priceless in meaning, sentiment, and memories), or someone, in the passing of a friend or family, we have come to experience the accompanying emotions (dejection), depending on the loss.
However, the Apostle Paul's figurative use of loss, which is of oneself, throughout chapter 3 means: releasing one’s need to be in control of a situation and the outcomes -- letting go of the ego and letting the need to be right lessen.
Not only are the Apostle Paul’s writings to turn towards God for purpose, meaning, relevance, and direction resounding centuries later, it’s also the page where I am in life right now.
Moreover, in this Lenten reflection being shared with you, loss of oneself is the common thread coursing throughout the reflection. Just think about making room for God, asking God’s presence, and, yes, input at the onset of all of my plan(s) A thru G.
Humility -- what a shift of gears!
Though life in an urban non-third world nation, with degree(s)/ job security affords a relative way of being, I put no stock or confidence in these anymore.
Like the Apostle Paul, I’ve arrived at the same conclusion that the change, loss, and gain of things (relationships, status/position, achievements, health, etc.) are relative.
All are secondary and pale in comparison to the power and presence of God:
God is a being greater than myself / plans; He has the whole world in His hands!
Though sometimes I am in awe, at my wits ends, or in total disagreement with the turn of life’s events, I step out of myself:
God, I’ll follow your lead;
You are the engineer,
and you’re the master plan of life.
Songs to Consider
”I Give Myself Away” by William Mc Dowell