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Don't Put the Cart in Front of the Horse - Joy #14

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Joy: Don’t Put the Cart in Front of the Horse

Philippians 3:2-6 Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.

Paul encourages us not to put our confidence in the flesh or in our own works. If we want to walk in joy, we need to have confidence in what Jesus has done for us. It will take our life to a greater place.

In the Old Testament, circumcision was an outward symbol of a covenant with God. It was something you did to signify you were in a covenant with God.

What began as a sign that a covenant existed, became something people looked to as the actual covenant. The covenant with God was the horse and circumcision was the cart but people started to put the cart before the horse.

The message of Christianity is this: you cannot earn a right standing with God by anything you do. We can’t do anything to earn God’s love or blessing. These blessings are given by grace and apprehended by faith. It’s built on what Jesus has done and not on anything we can do.

God is more concerned with our believing than our behaving.

It’s possible to behave outwardly but have the wrong motivation. If our believing is right, our behavior will line up.

Jesus did not give His life just so you would behave.

Circumcision was given after righteousness was already credited. It’s so easy to mix up cause and effect. It’s possible to take the cart (the behavior) and put it before the horse (faith). The more I do this or that, the more righteous I am. You can’t get any more right with God than you were when you were saved.

Here are a few ideas to encourage you.

1. Hold on to faith in the purpose of God for your life

It’s pleasing to God when I am actively, fiercely holding on to His promises for my life. Faith in the purpose of God will drive you to the Word and to prayer and worship. It will keep you from sin.

2. Get off the performance roller coaster

God’s grace and His righteousness is the only constant in our world. The time you need Him most is when you have blown it the worst. You can’t be good enough.

3. Get into the place of worship

Philippians 3:3 For we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God.

Worship is not just something we do - worship is entering into intimacy with the Lord.

Time in the presence of God will release anointing, fragrance, ideas, rest and productivity. When you’ve blown it, worship. When you’re doing well, worship.

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