Monday, August 22, 2022
Paul had more religious credentials than any of the original twelve apostles of Christ. His resume started in his infancy. He was circumcised on the eighth day, his family strictly adhering to God’s rule. His heritage came from the tribe of Benjamin, who were faithful warriors of God. He was disciplined and studious, becoming a Pharisee. He passionately persecuted the church, having a direct hand in the stoning of Stephen. In so doing, he obtained and maintained a fleshly status that would easily make him an important member of the Sanhedrin in no time. But that’s all it was. Someone who lived with a long list of labels, accomplishments, and titles, but ultimately, will be a victim of the same death as those who live without them.
“If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.” Philippians 3:4b-6
Status, which once was predetermined by feudal, caste, tribal or class systems, is now something that changes with our emotions or musings. Our connotation of the word has changed with the invention of social media.. The evolution of “status-ifying” oneself, has led to the rapid (d)evolution of a crushing identity problem. Occupation, education, pronouns, history, trauma, gender, race, family, and religion have become our most featured bullet points. We become these things or sometimes, these identities are thrust upon us. As unpopular as this messaging may be in my place and time, the words of Paul still ring true: It’s all garbage. Every. Single. Bit. Anything that doesn’t have eternal value is a name or stigma I no longer bear under the lordship of Jesus Christ.
“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 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” Philippians 3:7-9
We are not simply made righteous by calling ourselves Christian. Neither are we made holy because we’re a good mom, dad, or child. Nor are we not justified because of our bloodline or heritage. And we are not forgiven because we found a new definition for the same old sin. We are “status-ified” by Christ. So, what exactly is it? We are, through faith, redeemed and adopted Children of God. It is not our first status. It is our ONLY status. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul states there isn’t slave, free, man, woman, Jew, or Greek, meaning every title, other than that achieved through faith in Jesus Christ, is negligible, conditional, or temporary, — even dead. When we acknowledge him, He grabs hold of us and doesn’t let go. His Father calls us to resurrection and the treasure that is stored in heaven, ready to descend with the promised return of Jesus Christ, and on that day, there is only one group placed in the Lamb’s Book of Life: those who are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. Hit the refresh button, and take a good, long look. It might be time to update your status.
“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:10,11
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- IF you were to follow the ways of the world what COULD you use to give yourself status?
- What is the eternal value of each item you listed in question 1?
- What will/does it look like to reorder your life to gain Christ instead?