Friday, April 22, 2011

To Gain Christ

After last week's blog, I find myself still stuck meditating on the apostle Paul's words in Philippians three. I heard a song this morning ("Lead Me To The Cross" by Seventh Day Slumber) that stirred it up in me again. One line in the song goes, "And everything I once held dear, I count it all as loss." This thought comes directly from Philippians 3:7-8.

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. (NKJV)
I think I know exactly how Paul felt when he uttered this thought. Nothing else in my life is worth the cost of the presence of God. I desire to "gain Christ" above everything. I like the words of an online commentary regarding verse seven.

“I now regard them all as so much loss. They were really a disadvantage - a hindrance - an injury. I look upon them, not as gain or an advantage, but as an obstacle to my salvation.” (Albert Barne's Notes on the Bible, e-sword.net)
This brings me to ask, What in your life is an obstacle to your salvation? Is it a particular person or group of people? Is it a hobby? What do you allow into your heart that hinders your knowledge of Christ?

Before fear entered my life, I had so many things between me and God. Looked upon separately, none of them were that harmful. Yet somehow taken together, each one chipped away at my commitment to God. "I would rather read a good novel than spend time in my Bible. I must watch certain television programs or my day is incomplete. If I drive in my car, the music has to be playing."

Now, I don't believe God is against fiction stories or television shows or even music. As Christians, we must always guard against what we hear, and there are still forms of acceptable entertainment. But for me, these things were hindrances to my spiritual growth. The problem was, I just couldn't see it.

I tell people all the time that my experience changed me forever. I am not the same person I once was. Yet the greatest change in me came without any effort on my part. My desire for all these other things just left, at once in an instant. Another commentary likened this to someone freed from drinking. It said, "So it is observed of a drunken man, when he comes to himself; and it is told him what he did when in liquor, he grieves at it...i.e. can take no pleasure in a reflection on it." (John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, e-sword.net)

I no longer take pleasure in any of those old things. I count them all as loss because I will have no obstacles between myself and Christ, myself and His anointing, myself and His presence.

I always stress to those who are where I was that in order to be well again, you have to treat yourself like who you are in the position that you are in. A person with a physical illness cannot do certain things, their sickness has given them temporary limitations. Well, in this same manner, until I was whole again, I had to work daily to strengthen my spirit man and go minute-by-minute at renewing my mind. I soaked myself in God's presence and drank of His Word, for these were my medicines.

What I didn't count on was that somehow in the process, I lost the desire for all those other things. Oh, as I became stronger, I felt it was okay again to read a little or watch some television, but the truth is my desires changed. What matters to me now is salvation, mine and yours. I'd much rather pray. I'd much rather worship. I'd much rather gain Christ.


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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

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