Day 8

Knowing Christ

from the Philippians reading plan


Philippians 3:1-11, Jeremiah 9:23-24, 1 Peter 2:1-10

BY Melanie Rainer

When my husband was in business school, he had to develop an “elevator pitch” as part of his job search. An elevator pitch is a fairly standard business practice with the goal of selling something (a business idea, a person for a job, or a product) in the amount of time it takes you to ride an elevator with someone. For my husband and his fellow students, the idea was simple. At career fairs with large companies who hired the best and brightest from top business schools, you need to make yourself stand out in thirty seconds or less: say who you are, why you are different, and why you can bring unique value to the company.

In the first eleven verses of Philippians 3, Paul offers his own succinct and beautiful elevator pitch for gospel transformation. He lays it all out, right there: who he was, who he is now, and why it matters.

So who was Paul? He was the Hebrew born of Hebrews, who said of himself, “If anyone else thinks he has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I have more” (Philippians 3:4). Paul, a Pharisee whose life mission was to persecute and kill Christians, had all the right answers. He followed the law, which he knew backward and forward and to the letter.

But when confronted firsthand and face to face with the truth of who Jesus really is, Paul declared, “Everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ” (v.7). Despite the perfect resumé, the right pedigree, the unflappable credentials—Paul had nothing to offer before God. What a radical gospel transformation Paul experienced! It’s incredible, his confidence in the gift of grace that Christ offers to us.

I often feel so very lost in the darkness of my own sin. I know I have nothing to offer, despite my best efforts. But this confidence Paul describes? I don’t always believe it is available to me, too. My brain and its twisted paths of anxiety, fear, too many words and not enough faith, often lead me down the road of relying on my own flesh. I reason, I’m not good enough for God, but if I work harder, read my Bible more, pray more, be nicer to people, maybe then I’ll become more like Christ.

But here, in his eleven-verse elevator pitch for the gospel, Paul reminds me again that those thoughts are not true. My righteousness cannot come from my own flesh or from the law, but only through faith in Christ (vv.9–10). Jeremiah 9:23–24 echoes the same promise:

The wise person should not boast in his wisdom;
the strong should not boast in his strength;
the wealthy should not boast in his wealth.
But the one who boasts should boast in this:
that he understands and knows me—
that I am the LORD.

He is the Lord, mighty to save and full of abounding grace. What He requires from us is a desire “to know Him and the power of His resurrection” (Philippians 3:10), a power that is available to all who receive the gospel of grace. May we remember, and always be thankful for, the privilege of being able to stand on the merit of Christ alone.

Post Comments (37)

37 thoughts on "Knowing Christ"

  1. Jane Madge-Hadikin says:

    I’m stuck. I just get so frustrated when this happens. I am so enjoying this Philippians study, both the reading and your podcasts. I can feel the closeness to and tenderness (in parts) of his writings; but I’m stuck. I can’t pray. My mind wanders or all I can say is “I love You Jesus”.
    I will keep on studying Gods word and hope that the Holy Spirit will give me words.

  2. Ruth Heggenes says:

    So I love listening the the SRT podcast each week to accompany the study. As I was listening, two songs that I love came to mind as going along well with what they were talking about. We’ve seen too much to deny Christ- where else would we go? What’s the alternative? Andrew Peterson has a song “I’ve Seen Too Much”
    Also just the idea of this journey as a walking action pressing onward towards the goal to win the prize that God has called us to!!
    Thad Cockrell has a song called “Fill my Cup”.
    I love it! It’s all so exciting to read Gods word, talk about it, hear it discussed and make meaningful connections. Just wanted to share those songs!

  3. K D says:

    May I rest in knowing that my identity is found in Christ alone.

  4. Camille English Davis says:

    I am amazed at how appropriate each reading in this series has been when compared to what I’m battling right now. So. Very. Grateful…

  5. Jennifer Sporin says:

    I know I cannot do what I need to do, it is only the power of Christ that can change me and enable me. But through Christ, I can do all things. I can through Jesus! But will I obey? It is always a choice, but even in this, I need Christ!!!

  6. Melissa Mcronney says:

    Our blessings are in having faith in Jesus Christ.

  7. Teresa Birmingham says:

    I’m an enneagram 3. It’s difficult for me to feel worth and love unless it is due to my accomplishments, my completed to do list, my never ending projects, etc. I must remember that Paul says all of this is “rubbish” and that the only thing that makes me worthy is Jesus.

    1. Margaret Lindsey says:

      As a fellow worker, I have found it helpful to distinguish between accomplishments as the expression of my identity, rather than the source of my identity. Your accomplishments are your service to God and are not rubbish in that sense, only rubbish with respect to proving your worth, which can only be found in Christ.

  8. Mari V says:

    Today’s memory verse brought back High school memories. Philippians 3:10. I remember a few seniors having this for their senior quote. My senior quote was a whole chapter and a few verses after Philippians 4:13. I was in a public high school. I remember my days back then. I was a new Christian, but I wanted people to know. Though there were many obstacles and just being immature and being in an awful boyfriend girlfriend relationship I did my best to let people know about Jesus. One great thing I do remember is when I became a Christian I was so happy! And I’m so thankful for the adults in my life back then who were guiding me and helping me grow. My heart is so thankful for the adults who are in my kids lives who have come alongside them, guiding them, encouraging them helping them grow in their faith. I am forever thankful for these adults. Both for me and my kids.

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