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The Biggest “Subtle Flex” in the Bible – July 5, 2024

Friday, July 5

Devotional written by Joshua Green, Worship Leader

 

THE BIGGEST “SUBTLE FLEX” IN THE BIBLE

 “All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.”
Philippians 4:22

Read Philippians 4:21-23

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I feel like everyone here knows a celebrity or has a cool celebrity sighting story. When you subtly sneak into a conversation that you know someone famous, or that you got VIP access to a concert or event, Gen Zers call that a “subtle flex.”

I happen to have an accidental subtle flex story with a celebrity. After graduating from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 2012, my mom flew me to Los Angeles to meet some Filipino friends. When we arrived, a caravan of Filipinos in Mitsubishis took us to the Avalon Apartment complex near The Grove. Inside, a random, short Filipino guy comes out from his nap, and my mom and her friends rush me over to take a picture with him. Then the guy leaves. No words spoken, no small talk. I took a photo with a stranger in his apartment, then he left. My mom asked me to post the picture on Facebook and tag her. Not even five minutes later, one of my best friends called me to ask how I knew this guy. I said, “What guy? Who are you talking about?” Annoyed, he screams through the phone, “HOW ARE YOU FILIPINO AND NOT KNOW WHO MANNY PACQUIAO IS?” My friend, Bobby, thought I posted this picture with Manny as a subtle flex, even though I genuinely did not know who he was then.

I think Paul one-ups me here, as he says farewell in his letter to the church in Philippi. He mentions, “The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings.” And “All God’s people here send you greetings.” Cool, cool. All pretty normal. But then he throws in, “Especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.” If that’s not a subtle flex, mic drop moment, I don’t know what is. We’re talking about Caesar—of the Roman Empire. Historians believe this Caesar to be Nero. Paul wrote his letter to the Philippi church while awaiting trial before Caesar, under house arrest (Acts 28), which he mentioned earlier in Philippians 1:12-13. These unfair circumstances led to Paul sharing the gospel with the very household of Caesar. Paul’s trials led to Caesar’s family accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. What a strong testament to the power of the gospel! Once you realize this, Paul’s writing reads differently! Philippians 1:14 says, “And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.” Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.”

The work of God is greater than our circumstances, our resources, our education, our understanding. God has not stopped working mightily with Paul or Rome; God is moving mightily today, whether in the lives of celebrities or in the lives of an obstinate, prodigal child. 

Reflection: Who might God be leading you to share the gospel with today?

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