Sick of being good?
From Philippians: A 4-Day Devotional
As we grow older, the need to be good is continually reinforced. We justify ourselves with how good we are, whether it’s as an employee, spouse or person. The way we describe each other confirms it.
“He’s such a good person.”
“She has a good heart.”
At the beginning of Philippians 3, Paul points out the flaws in this kind of thinking. If we’re chasing goodness, we’re chasing a moving target.
If anyone reading Paul’s letter thought he or she was a good person, Paul was better. He was raised in the right family, went to the right schools and followed the right path. But he says all of these things were garbage compared to knowing Jesus (Philippians 3:8).
That’s because knowing Jesus isn’t about meeting a standard but following a person. The relationship Paul had with Jesus was more fulfilling than all the religious accomplishments of his past. Paul still did good things but not because he was trying to be good. Instead, Paul’s good deeds were an overflow of the love He experienced from Jesus. The same is true for us. When we put Jesus above everything else in our lives, we end up doing good things not because we have to, but because we want to.
After writing that everything in his life is worthless compared to knowing Jesus, Paul goes on to say he hasn’t lived up to Jesus’ example yet. Paul wasn’t perfect, but “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,” he continued his whole-hearted pursuit of Jesus (Philippians 3:12-14). Like Paul, many of us need to give up trying to be good enough and run to the One who is enough.
- Is Jesus first in your life? If not, what is? Is it worth it?
- Try to trace the roots of a recent sin in your life. What did you value above Jesus in that moment? What can you do differently the next time?