Watchful Hearts

July 20, 2015  - By Gretchen Saffles

 photo by Katherine McBroom

photo by Katherine McBroom

Reading: Philippians 3:1-3, Proverbs 4:23, John 4:24

Be Still And Know: 

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24

Drink Deep From The Well:

The heart is the well-spring of life. In Proverbs 4:23, Solomon commands us to keep our hearts with all vigilance, literally meaning to guard our hearts from any lie, deception, and sin. Every day we are attacked at all angles from the enemy. Lies pour into our minds from the media and we must have the truth of God’s Word to protect us from believing falsehood. Paul warned the Philippians to “look out for the dogs,” “evildoers,” and “those who mutilate the flesh.” We are to have our eyes constantly on the look out for anyone who carries a message that is contrary to the kingdom of God and the cross of Jesus Christ.

Guarding our hearts against false teachers is important in our walk with the Lord. 1 Timothy 1:14 tells us that we are to “By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” In order to be on our guard, we must know what to let in and what to keep out. Tauler once said “a pure heart is one to which all that is not of God is strange and jarring.” Anything that is against the gospel should immediately throw up a red flag in our hearts. Why do we set ourselves apart from the dogs, the evildoers, and those who mutilate the flesh? Because of the blood of Jesus that washes away our sins and the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. 

As followers of Jesus, we are set apart and different from this world. Paul explains in Philippians 1:3, “for we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.” These three things are attributes of those who have been bought by the blood of Christ and set free from the stronghold of sin. Let’s break them down:

“We are the circumcision” –

In the Old Testament, God commanded that the males be circumcised as a symbol of His covenant with His people. This practice began in Genesis 17 when God made His promise to Abraham and his descendants. Circumcision was an expression of faith by the men of Israel that God would fulfill His promises to them. According to the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, “The hygienic act of circumcision symbolized the need for cleansing if the holy God was to enter into relationship with an unholy people.” In the New Testament, Jesus came to circumcise, or cleanse, men’s hearts. During this time period, there were many Jews who believed that they needed to follow the law to be saved. This included being circumcised. However, Jesus came to set men free and save them by His grace and spotless blood. Salvation cannot be earned by circumcision. Salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, Jews and non-Jews (Gentiles) alike can be saved because of Jesus death on the cross that has cleansed our hearts. We are of the circumcision and we live to proclaim the gospel with our lives.

“Who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus” –

Our worship is not just physical acts, but also spiritual. Jesus said in John 4:24 that we are to worship God in spirit and in truth. Our entire life, inside and out, should be one act of worship to the Lord. We worship by the Holy Spirit and we rejoice and boast in Christ Jesus who has saved us from worshipping gods which cannot save us. To “glory” in Christ is to “pride” ourselves in our Savior, Jesus. I recently had a baby in May, and I love showing him off. It is a joy to introduce our precious son to people haven’t met him yet because I take pride in him. In the same way, we are to take pride in our Savior and be excited to tell the world about Him!

“And put no confidence in the flesh.”

We are not confident in the things that we have done but in what Christ has done eternally. Our flesh will fade away like flowers and grass, but the word of the Lord will remain forever (Read 1 Peter 1:24-25). This is what we place our confidence in. This is what we build our lives upon. This is where our joy stems from. Jesus Christ. He is our Rock and He is our Redeemer.

The gospel changes the way we walk, talk, think, listen, and live. In Christ, we place our confidence. 

Ask And Apply

  1. In what ways can you “look out” for anything that is not of the Lord in your everyday life?
  2. How does verse 3 affect your identity?
  3. Paul’s final command to the believers in verse 1 is to “rejoice in the Lord.” Why is this so important?

Today I Learned

Because of Christ and what He has done for us, we are to live our lives for His glory and walk by the Spirit.

Today I Will

Today I will stand firm in my identity in Christ and seek His truth.

Pray BIG

Father, thank You for giving us the Holy Spirit to guide us, teach us, and encourage us. We worship You alone and we pride ourselves in the work of Christ. Guard us from the lies of the world and write Your truth on our hearts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

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  1. I love the end of verse 3. When we worship God in the Spirit and rejoice in Jesus, it’s not a hard thing to "have no confidence in our flesh," because we are filled with Christ and our hearts are toward Him. Worship and joy are the antidote to prideful flesh.

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