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. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
Philippians 3:4-7

It is easy for us to get caught up in the comparison trap. We all search for reasons why we are okay, reasons why we measure up to the often unseen standards of our culture. We may develop religious and moralistic positions that end up separating us from others.

Paul, in his warning against depending on religious activity to be accepted in the church, gives his credentials for “acceptability” and they are impressive. He was a Hebrew of Hebrews and in regards to the ceremonial keeping of Jewish law, blameless. He had it all together and got he praise for it too, but Paul considers all of these credentials and pursuits as a net loss.

Paul, after having escaped the comparison trap through the gospel of freedom, is warning that we should not go back to this way of thinking. The reasoning of the world is empty and only leads to tearing one another down and demeaning others. We find that in Christ, there is a completely different rationale. It is a rationale of reliance on what Jesus did for us and trusting in his view of our worth rather than competing for vainglory in world system that is destined for destruction.

We want to lay down our striving for acceptance from the world and instead cling to Christ. Help us to stop giving reasons why we should be love and accepted and instead receive your gracious gift of love. We know that Jesus is enough, but confess that we often try to return to striving to justify our souls. Keep us free, as we trust in you. Because of Jesus, we pray, Amen
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