Today’s Philippians reading begins in verse 4, but we need to look back a way to get the whole picture.
Finally, brothers, I wish you joy in the Lord. To write to you what I have already written before is no trouble to me and to you will be protection. Beware of dogs! Beware of evil workmen! Beware of self-mutilators! We are the true people of the circumcision since we worship by the Spirit of God and make Christ Jesus our only boast, not relying on physical qualifications, although, I myself could rely on these too. NJB
Remember that Paul had hostile Jews following him through Greece trying to bring an end to his efforts to share the Good News with everyone. They were able to get him arrested several times. They managed to spread confusion behind him as he traveled. They thought they had hit upon the best idea when they demanded that every man who agreed to follow the Rabbi Jesus had to submit to circumcision.
Paul countered by saying ‘no,’ anyone can follow the Messiah without outward signs of doing so. We follow Jesus in Spirit, there is no need to cut our bodies, or ink our bodies, or any such thing.
With the people of the circumcision in mind, we read on. But everything that was “profit” for me I put down as “loss” for Christ. Yes, indeed, I consider everything to be loss as over against the surpassing worth of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord. Cotton Patch
For Paul, there is only acceptance of Jesus as the very human Son of God. That is it. There is no secret handshake, no memory of some liturgical incantation, you don’t even HAVE to be baptized. Yes, it is encouraged. Once you commit yourself to Jesus, you will find yourself wanting to do the things he did.
Yet, my brothers, I do not consider myself to have “arrived”, spiritually, nor do I consider myself already perfect. But I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ grasped me. Phillips
What is your purpose? We need to get an education and training. We must work to feed our families. That takes a great deal of time, though less than it used to. A portion of our day should involve that purpose for which Christ grasped you and me.
Be righteous and do good.