Summary: In the first part of this series on downsizing, we talked about the effects on our brain on a regular practice of rejoicing in the Lord. We reflected on the error in putting our confidences in earthly things.
In the first part of this series on downsizing, we talked about the effects on our brain on a regular practice of rejoicing in the Lord. We reflected on the error in putting our confidences in earthly things. We discussed our chances at fulfillment when we carry around our hopes and dreams in a wet paper sack, and what happens when we put our confidences in the flesh.
Having confidence in oneself is a tricky thing. We live in an era where we’re told we can do anything we put our mind to. We’re taught to never give up, and with enough hard work, we can have anything we want. In this world of instant gratification, whether it’s getting information in seconds off the internet, or having something we order in two days or less, we’ve trained our brains to think we can have what we want, when we want it. And if we see someone with something better than us, we can have it too…asap. And if our neighbor appears to be doing better than us, then we must do something to one up them. “Keeping up with the Jones’” the old saying goes.
I was interested in finding out just where that saying originated, so guess what, I got the info. instantly over the internet. The phrase originates with the comic strip Keeping Up with the Jones's, created by Arthur R. "Pop" Momand in 1913. The strip ran until 1940 in The New York World and various other newspapers. The strip depicts the social climbing McGinis family, who struggle to "keep up" with their neighbors, the Jones's of the title. The Jones's were unseen characters throughout the strip's run, often spoken of but never shown. The idiom keeping up with the Jones's has remained popular long after the strip's end
I was surprised when I read that information, and since it came off the internet, it must be true… The saying could read keeping up with Paul. After-all, our author today did a lot to keep up with.
We left off in part 1 of this series with verse 3 from Philippians 3:1-11, so let’s rejoin Paul here in verse 4:
4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more. The confidence Paul is referring to when he says though I myself have reasons for such confidence is from verse 3 confidence in the flesh. So, Paul is saying he could have confidence in himself. Ha! How does that make you feel when you hear Paul making such a claim…? When you hear Paul, or when you hear anyone speak in such high regard for themselves, how does it make you feel…? For some you may be competitive…you may think, “oh yeah, I’ll show you who’s great”. For others you may feel offended, “who does this person think they are?” Maybe you feel challenged, “I’ve got to beat this person, show them who’s better”. You may even feel confident, “they have no idea just how good I am”. If that is the case, you probably feel anxious for your chance to talk, thinking, “just wait until they hear what I have to say”. In fact, you may be so anxious to talk that you are thinking more about what you’re going to say than listening to them… Ever catch yourself doing that…?
Keeping up with the Jones’… What has been your experience in trying that, or, seeing others attempt that…? Imagine attempting to be, or appear, better than Paul. Verse 4 went on to say, if someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more. I remember being about junior high aged, and I was going to be better than my dad in basketball. Sure, he probably threw a few games when I was a grade schooler, but now we had a real competition going when it came to playing H.O.R.S.E. in the driveway, and I was determined to get the best of him…to be better…to show off my skills. So everyday after school I was out in the driveway practicing my shots. I had my free throws down…I was lethal at the side shots…and I even had a secret backwards, no look, shot I was waiting to unleash on ‘ol dad. I had practiced and practiced, and now the time had come. Dad just rolled in from work and I challenged him to a game of H.O.R.S.E. He responded with something like, “are you sure?” The dad in me now tells me he probably asked me this because he was tired from work and would rather not jump into a game, but at the time I thought, “ha! I’m about to show him up!”. Well, I should’ve taken the first shot, because I never got the chance to show anything off. My dad walked up to me, grabbed the ball, and proceeded to walk the length of the driveway, leave the driveway, and stand in the street. He turned, faced the basket which was all the way back connected to the house above the garage, and sink 4 straight shots without even touching the rim. Believe it or not, the net fell apart off the rim following that 4th shot. My mouth hung open with astonishment as he walked up to me, handed me the ball, and went into the house… Needless to say, I went back to practicing.