As a teen, mine was in how pretty I could be, how thin I could be, how good my grades were, how well I pleased the adults in my life, how happy my boyfriend was with me, and on, and on, and on ...
How about you?
And even after I met the Lord, I still worked to keep up the image. To be the good girl. The perfect pastor's wife. And I was pretty good at it. I knew how to fake flesh confidence.
Though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also.
If anyone else thinks he has reason for 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,
as to the law, a Pharisee;
as to zeal, a persecutor of the church;
as to righteousness under the law, blameless.
As good as I was at faking flesh confidence, Paul was better. Mine was based on how well I could keep up an image. How well I could fake it. Paul's was based on the real deal.
His ancestry was pure. His lineage was desirable. His pedigree was without one single blemish. He had reason to be proud of his family heritage. What about you? How do you rely on your family name to open doors for you?
His knowledge of religion was perfect. And it had been since he was a little boy. He had memorized so much scripture. He made his Sunday school teacher happy. What about you? Does your religious knowledge make you feel good about yourself?
He was zealous in his religious passion. His faith was not a private faith. He actively stood against those who believed differently than him. His zealous persecution of Christians won him brownie points with religious leaders. What about you? What religious activities do you use to impress people?
On God's tally sheet, he had all check marks. He kept the religious law perfectly. There were no skeletons in his closet. He was absolutely irreproachable. God was so lucky to have Paul on his side. What about you? Does your good girl record give you confidence that your entry to heaven is certain?
Paul had real flesh confidence. Mine was based on smoke and mirrors, wrong beliefs, and a warped understanding of who I was. I knew how to fake flesh confidence, but it didn't hold up under the weight of real life.
Whether you are a faker, like me, or the real deal the end result is the same. None of it matters. None of it. Where's your confidence?
(I know I'm leaving you hanging today. Sorry about that. If you have real flesh confidence or are a faker, like me, and are realizing that all this posturing won't hold up under real life ... I've got good news for you tomorrow.)
You've joined me Riverside today. Welcome! We're taking a slow journey verse-by-verse through Philippians and I'm so glad you joined us.