Daniel Fast 2023

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Message Text

Philippians 3:1-11

Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence. 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. 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. 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.

Message Notes

1. I built this shell with my bare hands.

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 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; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

Growing means we have to move out of our current context or our current shell. It becomes difficult to change because the shell we have built is comfortable, intricate, and it is full of things we have accomplished. Paul realized that is he focused on the things he had accomplished, no matter how impressive they were, he wouldn’t grow in his relationship with Christ.

2. Whatever you put your confidence in becomes your identity, it becomes the shell you live in.

We allow our circumstances to define us and the same things that have given us an identity will eventually kill our growth. We can identify with our success or our failures and cease to grow in either shell.

Judges 6:11 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

3.Time to change shells.

Philippians 3:7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.8 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 9 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.

Paul was willing to redefine his former accomplishments to continually pursue a relationship with Christ. He didn’t hold on to past success or failure. Moving out of your current shell will require a redefining of your past successes and failures.

Connect Group Discussion Questions

  1. What in your life are you most proud of?
  2. Have you ever considered that God had more for you than your last success or failure?
  3. Name some things in your life that you have wrapped your identity around.
  4. How can failure become as comfortable as success?
  5. Paul labels former successes as losses compared to his relationship with Christ. What would it take to redefine success in your life?
  6. Growth always requires us to change. Sometimes we change locations and sometimes we change mindsets. Is growth important enough for you to make significant changes in your life?