No Confidence in the Flesh

Michael Beck

“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Philippians 3:3)

For Paul, “confidence in the flesh” meant those things which caused him to think he was someone important. The proud Pharisee had accrued numerous badges of honor in his life. He was known and admired among his peers for his pedigree and zeal.

Saul of Tarsus was already a rising star in his circles, a “somebody” who could have made an even bigger name for himself if he had not met the despised Nazarene on the road to Damascus. But that encounter changed everything. A life lived “for me” became a life lived “for Him.” When Paul surveyed the wondrous cross – on which the Prince of glory died – his richest gain he counted loss, and poured contempt on all his pride.

The pride of life is not of the Father. (1 Jn 2:16) It is of the world. It cares what the world thinks of us. It glories in who we are in men’s eyes. An embrace of the cross signifies a death-knell to the pride of life. “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Gal. 6:14)

There is healing in the stripes of Jesus Christ found only in knowing Him in the fellowship of His sufferings and being made conformable to His death. As we cling to the old, rugged cross we lay all our old trophies down and we don’t seek any new ones. What does it matter that men don’t know us, they didn’t know the Prince of glory.

What does it matter when they see no beauty in us to be desired? Are we better than our Master who they hid their faces from? Should we receive a reward from them that He didn’t get? No, we are called to follow in His footsteps. He became nothing before men, that we might become something before God.

Rejoice in Jesus! Have no confidence in the flesh. Who are we anyway? All that is good and praiseworthy in us is from Him. Worship the Prince of glory, who is worthy of all the praise. Glory in the cross. Rejoice when men despise and reject you because you are true to your Lord. Don’t mourn the loss of any person’s respect or praise.

The less reward you receive down here, the greater your reward will be above. Better to be known in heaven than on earth.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.