“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 and 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.” (Philippians 3:8–9, NIV 1984).
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12–14).
My Musings – “I consider everything a loss” and “I have lost all things” may sound like hyperbole to some, but not to Paul. Upon his dramatic conversion he did lose a lot of what may be considered of great value in this world – power, postion, privilege, to name just a few. And it takes a mature spiritual perspective to consider such things as “rubbish” that they “may gain Christ and be found in him,” and have a “righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” If you doubt Paul’s sincerity in saying this, consider the following:
“Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.” (2 Corinthians 11:23–28, NIV 1984).
How would you like that on your spiritual resume? From persecutor to persecuted. But “forgetting what [was] behind and straining toward what [was] ahead, [he] press[ed] on toward the goal to win the prize for which God [had] called [him] heavenward in Christ Jesus.” And when he got that final call (imprisoned in Rome and ordered beheaded by Emperor Nero) he finally obtained all that he had “strained” for all those years and claimed his “prize.“
My Advice – What are you pursuing in your live? When all is said and done, will it be considered “rubbish” and “loss?” Have you heeded Christ’s Heavenward call? If so, are you pressing on?
Want to become a Christian (that Heavenward call)? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ (the pressing on)? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”