What Do You Value?
If you will allow this section of Paul’s letter to the Philippians to rattle around in your mind and soul, you will have something to think about. These words drive us to self-examination in many ways. Yesterday, Paul mentioned that he could have had great confidence in his worldly accomplishments, but that he would not do that. With that in mind, let’s read verses 7-8 of chapter 3: “ 7 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 “ The phrase that I find particularly challenging is “I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord”. Do I really feel that way? Do you? Those words are not difficult to say but I think they are difficult to live. Yet, those words represent Jesus’ calling on His followers. If I value the things of this world above the things of Christ, I am moving away from Jesus and toward those things. I will not relinquish those things when they get in the way of following Jesus. If “gaining Christ” is really what I desire, then “gaining Christ” is first in my life. Yet, my flesh says, “but I like and value the things of this world”. I don’t think that is wrong. However, the value of those things must be far, far less than the value of knowing Christ. Plus, the next phrase says that Paul has suffered the loss of “all things” to gain Christ. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t have all this world has to offer and have Christ at the same time. It just doesn’t work that way. Paul lost everything this world had afforded him but he gained Christ. This is not a path for the “super-Christian”. This is the path for all Christians. What do you value in your life and are you willing to give those things up if God so directs or calls? Are you willing to aspire and strive to know Christ above all else? Are the words of the hymn, “I’d Rather Have Jesus” true for you? Here they are:
I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand
Than to be the king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin’s dread sway;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.