Whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:7-12).
This passage is a mind-blowing piece to read if you're paying attention. It is amazing in consideration of today's "me" mentality. Think about it. What is it that you consider "gain"? Normal thinking would say "a better car" or "a nicer home" or "a good job". More "godly" thinking might include "a good wife" or "good children". Unfortunately for us, the "normal" list, as long as it might be, is not a biblical list. The biblical list is ... Christ. Short, sweet, to the point.
Can you imagine a life lived on the terms suggested by Paul? What would that look like? Comfort, pleasant living, wealth, status, power ... all of these would be viewed as loss. Instead, "knowing Christ" would be the only gain. Suffering toward that end would be gain. "Being conformed to His death" would be gain. And it would be a constant. "I press on," he says. It is a life lived with Christ in view and the only "stuff" of value there would be that which gets me closer to Christ.
Wow! I have to be honest. I'm not at all clear on what that would actually look like. I'm a brainwashed American that tends to think that money and pleasure and "stuff" and comfort are things we should seek while Paul says they're loss. I want to be able to retire in comfort (or at least without starving to death on the street) and Paul says, "Who cares? Whatever it takes to know Him! That's what's important!" I am a time-bound earth dweller who cannot seem to imagine clearly what the eternally-minded Christian ought to look like. But I can say this -- it's what I want.
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"God's Words For US" from