Bible Society of South Africa

Redeemed from Complacency – Paul – 22 July 2020

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

7But all those things that I might count as profit I now reckon as loss for Christ's sake. 8Not only those things; I reckon everything as complete loss for the sake of what is so much more valuable, the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have thrown everything away; I consider it all as mere refuse, so that I may gain Christ

Philippians 3:7-8GNBOpen in Bible reader

As a fellow sufferer, the apostle Paul can inspire anyone battling complacency. Before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus, he was a zealous Pharisee, rounding up the new Christians to imprison them and stamp out the church. His strong religious convictions, confidence through his studies, along with pride in his fine pedigree, had all blinded him to how he had become, in the same way that they affect us. But, at the right time Jesus met him, and this dramatic conversion transformed his life radically.

Paul’s words to the Philippians in which he describes his radical transformation, through coming to believe in Jesus, as the most important experience in his life, are exquisite in their simplicity in their portrayal of this truth in the English Bible for the Deaf. Paul’s heart is completely changed. He realises that his pride in his impeccable heritage, and his tireless zeal as a Pharisee, had deprived him of the real values that make a true difference. He had even reached the point of approving Stephen’s murder (Acts 7:58). He saw these things for what they were through the radiant integrity and truth of Christ.

Throughout history, the Israelites frequently became complacent and forgot who they were and where their help came from. God’s warning to them was, “Be sure that you do not become proud and forget the Lord your God who rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves.” (Deuteronomy 8:14 GNT)

This, “Hebrew of Hebrews” (Phillippians 3:5) was freed from the pride that had bound him: freed of his self-sufficiency. His encounter with Jesus meant that from then on he would serve Him with love, joy and in humility: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14 NIV)

Can we do anything less?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I want to be free from complacency and pride; please would You meet me at my point of need and transform my life. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.14
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