December 10, 2020
Alleys Chapel UMC
Phil. 3:7-11But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
DevotionMy Mother suffered from clinical depression for most of her adult life. It was a great emotional burden, but she bore it with grace and dignity, and she went to great length to protect her family because society had not moved beyond the stigma associated with that illness. I was well into my adult years before I was fully aware of her struggle. In spite of the many valleys and mountains, she was blessed with a long life. As I sat by her bedside and watched her slowly slip away at age 85, I found time for deep reflection on the life she had lived before me and came to truly appreciate those words from somewhere – “Our Mother: Strengthens us with her prayers, Blesses us with her love, and Encourages us with her hope.”
Paul’s message to the people at Philippi stressed the full measure of knowing Christ, and that message reverberates with us today. A life without challenges allows us to get too involved with ourselves, leading to thinking that rather that depending on Christ we can earn our own way. Depending on self is best defined as self-righteousness, and that is a sin. The more confidence we place in ourselves, the farther away from Christ we are. Challenges in life are never welcome and are never comfortable, but they can help us see beyond our own “self” and recognize just how much we have to gain and to give by knowing Christ. It is in our greatest sense of hopelessness that we can feel closest to Christ and feel the mighty power of His resurrection.