Choosing to go on the offensive by rejoicing in the midst of hardship is the single greatest defense from the things that make us turn away from God.
Rejoicing as a Safeguard: Paul begins the chapter by again commanding the Philippians to rejoice. It is one of the most critical things they can do to guard their hearts against discouragement. It’s not just a good idea, it is a safeguard specifically designed by God for this purpose. How does it work? If I am choosing to rejoice in the Lord whatever my circumstances or situation, it will be nearly impossible to grumble and complain about them. It is an either/or proposition. A natural consequence of truly rejoicing in the Lord about something is the inability to complain about it. You cannot grumble and rejoice about the same thing at the same time. If you’re grumbling, you’re not rejoicing.
What not to do
It was common for some Jews to refer to Gentiles as dogs, which were considered unclean animals. Paul used the term to describe those Jews who mutilated the gospel by insisting on the need to mutilate the flesh in order to be rightly related to God. What they did was actually evil, even though they may have had good intentions.
What we should do Phil. 3:4-14
1. Religious accomplishment ()
It cannot be emphasized too strongly that Paul did not place any confidence in the flesh. He had gained victory over that temptation of the devil. His presentation in these verses was intended to review for the Philippians the things in which he could have placed confidence if he had wanted to. In fact the list included things in which he did place great value and trust before he met Christ. His intention was to show that in the flesh he had more in which he could have boasted than did any of the Judaizers.
The anyone else (v. 4) referred to all who place confidence in the flesh. Paul wrote as though he were challenging the Judaizers to a showdown. His preliminary conclusion before he even got specific was that no matter what advantage was brought forth by his opponents, his advantages exceeded theirs (cf. Gal. 1:14).
Paul had problems, then he met Christ!!!!!
2. Abandon ()
3. All things: ABANDONED ()
Doubtless Paul considered his life-transforming conversion on the Damascus Road as the time when he switched from confidence in the flesh to confidence in Christ alone.
It would be hard to find a more forceful refutation of human effort to please God than what Paul presented here (v. 8). Four Greek particles (alla menoun ge kai) are translated what is more and introduce the strong statements of verse 8. Paul considered as loss not only the things already listed (vv. 5–6), but everything (v. 8). In exchange for confidence in the flesh Paul gained the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus personally. Christ was now his Lord.
The righteousness which saves and in which Paul rested is through (dia) faith in Christ. This is the only kind which comes from God and is by (epi) faith. When a believing sinner responds in faith to the Spirit’s work in his heart, he is clothed in the righteousness of Christ (Rom. 3:24–26). In this position he is “accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6, KJV). Thus robed, the believing sinner stands complete in Christ.
4. One Purpose (very important to achieve joyful living): ()
To know (v. 10) means “to know by experience” (gnōnai). The noun (gnōseōs) is used in verse 8. The “surpassing greatness of knowing Christ” is now elaborated in verses 10–11. This is how Paul wanted to know Him. More of what he desired in his Christian life follows.
To experience the power of His resurrection was also the apostle’s goal. The power which brought Christ forth from the dead now operates in believers’ lives since they have been “raised with Christ” (Col. 3:1). “Power” (dynamis, also used in Acts 1:8; Rom. 1:16) means ability to overcome resistance. By setting forth his own goals and ambitions Paul gave the Philippians an example to follow. His example was, of course, in stark contrast to the Judaizers whose example they were not to follow.