Getting Personal

Loss for the sake of Christ.

“More than that, I count all things to be loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith, that I might know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:8-11)

That single sentence was written by the apostle Paul to explain himself to the Philippians.  His goal?  Exchange Trash for Treasure. Knowing Christ, the power of His resurrection and having fellowship with Jesus was the treasure Paul valued above all else. He no longer labored to prove himself worthy. He knew his worthiness was declared by God because of his faith in Christ. Paul sought death to self that he might forever live in Christ. Trash for Treasure.

Satisfying the physical or enjoying the spiritual is the choice we all make during our short time on earth. The physical has an expiration date the other is eternal. As babes in Christ we resisted our cross finding it so much easier to live than it is to die. As we grow in grace our excuses are peeled away and we see our sin to be rebellion. A hard word, but true if we claim Jesus as our Lord and soon coming King. “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)

The older I get the more concerned I become for the wellbeing of others. Are they taking God’s gift of grace seriously? So many lives with so little indication that they are. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.(Matthew 7:13-14)  Concern gives birth to sorrow and prayer.

Far from God’s high calling, I am encouraged by Paul’s confession. “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)

To press on is to be conformed to His death “in order that we also may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”  (Philippians 3:11)

Father, may Your apostle’s words stir us away from complacency. You have called us heavenward in Christ Jesus, a journey from death to life. May Your kindness and tolerance and patience bear the fruit of repentance in us as we are transformed into the likeness of Your Son. Thank You for Your abundant grace.

“Let us therefore, as many as are mature, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.”  (Philippians 3:15-16)