Friday, May 25, 2018
Philippians 3:8 – 9 I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
Paul understood loss. He wrote the book of Philippians while under arrest in Rome. He had lost his freedom. While on the way to Rome he had been in a shipwreck. All possessions were lost, including the ship. But in both instances, Paul was able to state clearly and emphatically that the greatness of knowing Jesus Christ surpassed whatever perceived benefit he would receive from what was lost.
Paul may have had the shipwreck in mind when he wrote to the Philippian people. In fact, Luke’s description of that shipwreck in Acts 27 contains the only two other uses of the word “loss” in the New Testament. Paul warned the owners of the ship not to sail or they would suffer the loss of all things, and then when they hit the big storm he reminded them that he had warned them about the loss. But in the midst of the loss, Paul clung to Christ, and not a single life was lost. All their possessions were gone, but their lives were saved. So, when Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, he was able to speak from personal experience that the pride and prestige of his Pharisaical position and the pleasure derived from personal possessions were rubbish compared to the surpassing greatness of being found righteous in God’s eyes through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.
Jesus spoke of such loss and gain when he said, For whoever wants to save his life must lose it: and whoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? The world’s philosophy of gain is diabolically opposed to what Jesus said. “Grab all you can the first time around,” says the world. “Make the most of today,” and “Live for the moment,” have become the purpose statements of society. But Jesus uses the verb form of Paul’s word “loss” and tells us that we will lose it all, including our souls, if we live by that philosophy. But if we are willing to lose everything about this fleshly life for the sake of knowing Jesus, we shall find true life and be fulfilled.
We have dealt with this subject before, but it must be repeated until we get it right. There are far too many things of this world that we have added to our lives as necessities to fulfillment and joy. Jesus alone is to be sufficient. Why do we continue to need human experience to validate faith in Jesus Christ? We claim Jesus, but then pursue possessions as the fullness of life. Or maybe we think we need relationships to fill what we perceive is lacking in Jesus. Is it possible that we need the world’s acclaim in addition the Christ’s? Maybe we think we need financial security along with a good dose of Jesus. What are we really saying about the nature of God when we don’t truly believe that faith in Him alone is sufficient?
Dear friends, let us fall on our knees before God and confess that we have not been willing to lose all things for the sake of knowing Jesus Christ intimately and powerfully. Then let us surrender all those things to Jesus Christ and be willing to give them up. We will praise Him for what He gives back to us, and we will praise Him for what He says is unnecessary. May our hearts be humbled to the point that we accept for our lives only what He chooses, and do nothing to provide for ourselves according to our own agenda or the pressures of society to measure up. May we symbolically toss everything overboard so that our lives can be saved.