Nov7SunNovember 7, 2021
Have you ever Googled yourself? Well recently, I did. I googled, “who is Wendy Tolmie?” All kinds of things came up. Things that defined me by my title, achievements, status and reputation. There was even something that came up that rated me. Imagine that! I was rated 3.6/5 by the way. There was one thing that came up that actually talked about my relationship with Jesus, who I am in Christ and how God has put on my heart a desire to serve Him and others out of the freedom He has given to me. Praise the Lord!
As I was reading all of this, I thought, praise the Lord that my confidence, identity and what I believe is no longer based on status, reputation, achievements, title, what I have or don’t have, what other people say about me, what the enemy says about me or even what I think and say about myself.
I immediately thought about Paul and his personal testimony in Phil 3: 4-11. Let’s take a look at this.
He starts off in Phil 3:3 by saying, “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” In other words, true signs of a right relation with God are to worship Him in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh.
Phil 3:4-11 (NKJV) though I also might have confidence in the flesh. 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. 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 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Paul shares his own life as an example of putting no confidence in the flesh, in his own achievements, but relying entirely on Christ. Paul did everything right according to the law. He had status, reputation, education and zeal. He once thought that these things were to be desired, favorable and profitable. He has laid all of these things down considering them rubbish (refuse, litter, worthless, useless), desiring only Jesus. He no longer boasts in his own righteousness knowing that righteousness comes only from God through faith in Jesus. He has discovered a more excellent pursuit-knowing Jesus, the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.
When I got born again by the Spirit of God, my whole life changed. All I wanted was to know Jesus more. As I got to know Jesus, the things that I desired became worthless to me. There was a shift FROM putting confidence in what I did, reputation, achievements, what I had, what I valued and what others thought about me TO desiring to Know Jesus more and to live my life for Him. I wanted to be known as a follower of Jesus. I wanted people to see Jesus in me and to see Him working in and through my life. I wanted Jesus to be glorified and people to come to know Him. I still do!
Like Paul, there is much suffering in this. I would hear of all kinds of negative things that people said about me but I would praise God as they were often a result of desiring to follow Jesus and demonstrate His kingdom here on earth. It has been an amazing journey. Putting confidence in the flesh led me to sin, bondage, depression and hopelessness. Putting confidence in the flesh fed into pride, perfectionism and idolatry (especially of self). Holy Spirit revealed these things to me and helped me to truly lay everything down. As a result, I have gained Jesus and freedom to serve Him with great joy!
Then, as Paul says in Phil 3:12-14 (NKJV), “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Everything I have laid down is in the past, not to be picked up again, not even to be remembered. I have purposed in my heart to continue to know Jesus more. He is my one pursuit! I choose daily to put my confidence in Christ alone-who He is, His promises, who I am in Him and what He says about me.
So, I challenge you to sit with the Lord and ask Him to reveal to you who or what do you put your confidence in? I encourage you to desire to worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Repent, lay everything down, pursue Jesus and you will be set free to serve Him in freedom and joy!
Here are some more scriptures that came to mind as I was writing this blog:
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Gal 2:20 NKJV)
and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. (2 Co 5:15 NKJV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Co 5:17)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Ro 12:1-2 NLT)
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches...” Rev 2:7