“If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews, as to the law a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of Christ because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
~ Philippians 3.4-11, New Revised Standard Version
Accepting race and its socially constructed identities ensures that we “boast in the flesh” and maintains our confidence in it (Philippians 3.2). Paul writes to the church at Philippi of his reasons to be confident in the flesh. He provides a resume of sorts with a list of accomplishments, associations and references. Paul considers them gains and they are in the eyes of many. He has done the right things and knows the right people. He looks and can play the part. But, he counts them as loss having found knowing Christ to be of more value.
This morning, I am pondering the many ways that race allows us to boast in our flesh and my desire to count it all as loss. Paul says to the believers that we are to boast in Jesus Christ and not have confidence in the flesh. We must choose between the two. Paul offers no means by which to balance them neither does he suggest that it is an option.
Today, I join with Paul in counting all that I might gain from race and its affiliations as loss that I might gain Christ and be found in Him.