Paul was a stud and he had every reason to be. He was a social elite, an intellectual genius, and the cherry on top of the creme when it came to Jewish standards. Every parent wanted their kid to be like Paul. Wives would say to their husbands, “Why can’t you be more like Paul?”
It would have been easy for Paul to rely on his own “righteousness.” How many of us have been caught driving in that neighborhood? Forget driving, how many of us have bought a house in the neighborhood of credentials, titles, and worth built by human hands?
In Philippians 3, Paul gives his own introduction speech, listing all his accolades. It’s not because he is obsessed with himself, but to demonstrate he is qualified to speak into the lives of the Jews. No one had the credentials this dude was carrying, and in an instant, all that had meaning and clout among a nation that worshipped the Mosaic Law, Paul wrote off.
I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. (Philippians 3:9)
Commentator Willam Barclay writes, “Paul had discovered that a right relationship with God is based not on Law but on faith in Jesus Christ. It is not achieved by any man but given by God; not won by works but accepted in trust.” (Barclay’s Daily Study Bible)
But what gets me fired up is the next verse. Paul writes,
I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! – Philippians 3:10-11
The greek word here for know is gnosis. It indicates the most intimate knowledge of another person. It was Paul’s desire to know Christ in the most intimate way he could and, for Paul, that meant suffering in whatever form God saw fit.
Now, who wants to buy a house in that neighborhood?… I know what your thinking, “Uhhh, not me. I don’t want to suffer!”
Paul could relate.
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. – Philippians 3:12
Don’t live in the neighborhood of pride and self-righteousness. It’s time to pack your bags and move! There is a neighborhood where you can experience the power that raise Christ from the dead and has eternal amenities!