Philippians 3:8-11 (HCSB)
“More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
After Paul has recounted all of his fleshly qualifications for righteousness, which are many by Jewish standards, he denounces them. He views them as worthless, useless, even as ”rubbish”. The Apostle Paul tells us that his enviable resume of righteousness is nothing. Nothing… compared to knowing Jesus. Paul willingly suffered and lost everything of worldly value so that he may gain Christ. We are not worthy to be in God’s holy presence because of anything we have done, chosen, or been born into. We are made right with God ONLY by believing in Jesus Christ. Not only does he make us righteous if we have faith in Him, He gives us the gift of eternal life, and we also get to KNOW Him intimately. Paul passionately tells us that what we lose holds no comparison to gaining knowledge of Jesus.
What does it mean to know Jesus? It means having faith in Him. It means surrendering our soul to Him. It also means knowing him intimately and daily by studying His life, asking the Holy Spirit to help you know Him, and taking up His calling to live and love like Him and to share Him with others. Paul gave up everything to know Him. What will you give up? Time? Energy? Control? The power that raised Jesus from the dead will help us to know Him. It will help us become new creations in Christ. It will transform us.
What if we recognized and experienced the reality that NOTHING, not money, family, career, or even service in the church, is as significant as knowing Jesus. Paul did not say that losing everything or putting Jesus first was painless or easy. He did not say life became smooth and comfortable. And he did not say that God left him as he was, unchanged. Christ will change us as we get close to Him. And, we will share in His suffering. But still, Paul says he wants to KNOW Jesus and the power that raised Him from the dead. Do you KNOW Him? The infinite power of God that raised Jesus from the dead; do you know that power in your life? To know Him in life and in death, no matter how it comes, experiencing resurrection with Him…What else is there? All else pales in comparison.
Jesus, Thank you for the gift of righteousness by faith. I want to KNOW you. I want to know the power of your resurrection. Give me Paul’s perspective. I surrender my life to you because all I am and have pales in comparison to knowing you. Help me to hear and know your voice. Give me the courage and wisdom to follow it. Amen.
By: Karen Spengler