1 It is no trouble for me to write about some important matters to you again. If you know about them, you will have a safe path to follow. 2 Watch out for those dogs. They are people who do evil things. When they circumcise, it is nothing more than a useless cutting of the body. 3 But we have been truly circumcised. We serve God by the power of his Spirit. We boast about what Christ Jesus has done. We don’t put our trust in who we are or what we can do. 4 I have many reasons to trust in who I am and what I have done. Someone else may think they have reasons to trust in these things. But I have even more. 5 I was circumcised on the eighth day. I am part of the people of Israel. I am from the tribe of Benjamin. I am a pure Hebrew. As far as the law is concerned, I am a Pharisee. 6 As far as being committed is concerned, I opposed and attacked the church. As far as keeping the law is concerned, I kept it perfectly.
In this passage Paul is emphasising to the Philippians something he had previously taught them. Using somewhat colourful language he reminds them not to be pressured into the old testament practice of circumcision as it was simply an allegory of the true work God is doing, that is ‘the circumcision of the heart’.
The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. Deuteronomy 30:6
However, it was not until the New Testament that it became evident that this work was to be done by the Holy Spirit.
As I think about my life I realise not everything God wants to do in me is easy or painless. In fact, like the cutting away of flesh in circumcision many of the deeper works of God in us are very painful. Like pruning a plant, the Holy Spirit snips off wrong thinking or cuts away bad habits, maybe heals painful memories or trims off wrong motives. Sometimes He removes things that we consider strengths like self-reliance, but also like a properly pruned plant we grow back stronger and healthier.
Lord, today I ask you to make me aware of the deeper works you are doing in my life and to be sensitive to the work you are doing in the lives of people around me. Help me endure the difficult moments knowing that you are making Deuteronomy 30:6 a reality in my life. Amen!
Written by David Newton