Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
Christian Credentials (Part 2)
If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Philippians 3:4-6 (NKJV)
Paul was a well-bred, highly-educated, multilingual Jewish Pharisee on the road to stardom. Since Israel was under Roman occupation, he had another advantage: Paul was a Roman. Add in intellectual brilliance, a spotless reputation and an unparalleled work ethic. Unfortunately, his work became the persecution of Christians.
'Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two' (Matthew 5:41). Paul went the extra mile—hunting Christians outside of Jerusalem. On the road to Damascus, he experienced one of the New Testament's most significant glory moments: Paul had a life-changing, world-ranging meeting with Jesus.
Our world idolizes titles: Chairmen, CEOs, MDs, JDs, PhDs, MVPs, award winners and whizz-kids. How does God view such accomplishments? Are these distinctions truly divine? 'For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God' (1 Corinthians 3:19). Even more: 'He catches the wise in their own craftiness' (Job 5:13). How?
Sooner or later, worldly credentials crumble like paper. They cannot reach beyond the grave, and they mean nothing to God--unless they are used unselfishly for the betterment of mankind, like a farmer with a hoe or a cook with a pot.
Consider this: an MD/PhD has no more value to God than a good cook serving delicious food to hungry people. Credentials are only instruments to help others, to love them--nothing more. As for Paul's B.C. credentials?
Surely, God used them all in this famous apostle's ministry. But in his humility and to teach his brethren, Paul explains his own views about credentials:
'But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ' (Philippians 3:7-8).
Actors, models, and talent for Christ: consider Paul's words when you reach for the role and go for the gold. Remember where true gold is found.
To Be Continued...
* Most of this devotion is reprinted from an earlier AMTC devotion, published November 25th, 2012: http://www.amtcdevotions.com/credentials
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Christian Credentials series.