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Wednesday, February 6th, 2019


President Trump gave his yearly State of the Union address last night and in it summed up what he believes to be the major successes and challenges of the last year and goals for this year. The SOTU address is always a sort of “taking stock of the country” speech and just like how our country needs that each year, we each need it as well. When we take stock of our lives – what is working, what is not working, what we want and what we don’t need – we can come to new conclusions about the direction we need to go forward. The Apostle Paul did the same in his letter to the Philippians. In Chapter 3, he takes stock of his own life and notes that he comes from what the world says is the best pedigree with the best life laid out before him. But he says of it all, “The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him.” It doesn’t matter how well stocked the shelves of your life are if they are not supported by the love of Christ. Today, take stock of your own life and see the places where, for some reason, you’ve judged Christ’s love as somehow inferior to what the world can give. Ask for Christ to fill your life with his love first.

2-6 Steer clear of the barking dogs, those religious busybodies, all bark and no bite. All they’re interested in is appearances—knife-happy circumcisers, I call them. The real believers are the ones the Spirit of God leads to work away at this ministry, filling the air with Christ’s praise as we do it. We couldn’t carry this off by our own efforts, and we know it—even though we can list what many might think are impressive credentials. You know my pedigree: a legitimate birth, circumcised on the eighth day; an Israelite from the elite tribe of Benjamin; a strict and devout adherent to God’s law; a fiery defender of the purity of my religion, even to the point of persecuting the church; a meticulous observer of everything set down in God’s law Book.

7-9 The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be emb