An Advent reflection for Thursday, December 14th by Pastor Sara Fisher
Lectionary reading for 12/14/2023: Psalm 126; Habakkuk 2:1-5; Philippians 3:7-11
Selected passage for reflection: Philippians 3:7-11
Philippians 3:7-11 NIV
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
I want to know Christ; to gain Christ and be found in Him.
Last month I was talking with another woman who pastors in a large, thriving church. She’s well known in my circles and has a reputation for being a great story teller, worship leader, and faithful follower of Jesus. I expected her to come into our conversation full of wisdom and advice-- eager to share her expertise from years of fruitful ministry. But at the end of our conversation I was struck with something else-- her genuine humility and deep desire to know more and more of Jesus every single day of her life. I left saying to myself, “I want what she’s got. I want to know Christ as she does.”
Have you ever met someone like that? Someone who just exudes humility before Christ in a way that draws you closer to Jesus too?
Paul says in this Philippians passage that whatever were gains to him he now considers garbage. I don’t think he’s discounting the good things he’s received in life, or promoting extreme poverty to follow Jesus-- but rather he’s realigning how he measures every detail and decision in his life-- and centering those around Christ.
What if, even just for today, you did the same? Asking yourself: “Is this decision/thought/action/movement/etc moving me towards the goal of knowing Christ and being found in Him?”
I don’t believe God is interested in micro-managing every single detail of our lives, but I do believe that faith grows in the small details. We take one step closer to Christ when we say a short prayer in the midst of doing dishes. One step closer when we stop to help our neighbor bring up the trash cans instead of heading straight inside. One step closer when we speak up for what’s right at work instead of putting our heads down for our own gain. One step closer when we take time to read the Word. One step closer when we put down our phones to be present, as Jesus would be, with our kids, spouses and friends. One step closer. A life of being found in Jesus is built in the small details of everyday, mundane choices. And oh the joy of being found in Jesus!
It is only when we radically center our lives around Christ that we experience the deep joy I saw in that other Pastor-- the kind of joy that leads us to not only follow Jesus when things are good, but also to participate in Jesus’ sufferings and become like Him in death. And the good news of that kind of life is that Christ raises us too from the dead-- the dead things in our everyday life, and the physical death which has no hold on Jesus. Thanks be to God.
Take a moment to think through your day. Is there a way God is inviting you to realign your decisions around Him? Is God challenging you to count one of your gains as garbage so that you can see Jesus more clearly? Is there a way God is encouraging you that you are found in Him?
Lord God, today I want to be found in you. I want to know you. Jesus, remind me of who you made me to be. Guide me as I follow you. Embolden me to participate in your suffering. For you are the resurrection and the life. Amen.
About the Author
Sara Fisher is a wife, mother and Family Pastor from Northern California. She loves coffee, lazy days at home with the fam and being out in nature. She experiences deep joy seeing kids + teenagers (and all people) live into their specific calling God has given them, and walking alongside them in the process.