But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him... Philippians 3:7-9 NKJVThe Apostle Paul in this passage of scripture had just given them his pedigree. "Look," he had said, "at who I am, at what my accomplishments are." But he wasn't bragging, as can be seen by his following statements. Rather, he was telling the church to get their priorities in line. What was gain, or advantage, for him - his birthright, his education, even his "zeal" - he now considered useless to instead follow Christ.
Paul had forsaken all to follow the call of God on his life. This seems to us like an incredible sacrifice. When pressed against the wall, we don't want to give up all the "stuff" we've worked so hard to gain. Why would he be so willing to make such a huge commitment? And what did he know, what revelation had he had, that had caused him to choose this?
Forget for a moment, his heavenly visitation on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9:3) Though that definitely changed him, he could still have used his connections to further his new "career". He had, after all, been a man of influence in religious and political circles. Yet, Paul plainly states, "What I once thought valuable is worthless." (CEV)
Part of the answer lies in the fact that those things we do outside of Christ, through our body or our mind, are not profitable. (John 6:63) Paul himself in verse 3 said he had "no confidence in the flesh." The truth is, what we can achieve under our own power will never come up to the level of what Christ can do in us through our faith. (Colossians 1:27)
In the book of Matthew, Jesus compels us to:
...seek ye first the kingdom of God... Matthew 6:33Seeking Christ isn't something we do because we have been told to do it. Neither do we choose to do it after we've completed everything else on our list for the day. Seeking God is more than attending church on Sunday. It is more than reading one scripture before we fall asleep. No, we seek Christ out of our great desire for His presence. We long to be near Him, to hear what He has to say, and to please Him in our words and actions.
What someone desires, they will spend their time on. A professional sports athlete only becomes the best by constant practice. A husband and wife are only married for twenty, thirty, or fifty years because of their love and desire for each other. In either case, they don't mind the sacrifice because it moves them closer to what they love.
Paul knew this. In verse 10 he states:
...that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings...And in verse 12:
I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.His desire, his longing, was now for Christ. But it is greater than just having a desire because desire unfulfilled "can make you sick." (Proverbs 13:12 CEV)
Let's read the remainder of the verse in Matthew, chapter 6.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.What "things"? Why, the "things" of verse 31, clothing, food, drink, and by extension, money, promotions, and success.
It is not only that Paul had longing and desire for Christ. He also knew that Christ would provide all the other things he, Paul, would have had to work so hard to obtain on his own. His priorities were set according to his desire for God and his knowledge, his faith in, what God said He would provide.
One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. 5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. 6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord. Psalms 27:4-6
Suzanne Williams Photography
Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.