But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:7-11
This passage in Philippians is a favorite among many Christians. Paul talks about how everything that would have been of value to him and to others does not matter when he compares them to knowing Jesus. It is easy to agree with Paul, but we have to think about all that he did. Before encountering Jesus, Paul was a religious leader for the Jewish people, a great scholar and teacher, mentor and guide. After turning his life over to Christ, Paul used his skills to start many churches, speak to thousands at a time, and even stand before the highest Roman officials proclaiming the good news of Jesus. There were a lot of things that he could have been proud of. Still, none of them mattered to him compared to knowing Jesus. What are we to make of his words in light of this? Does knowing Christ mean this much to us? Is it worth more than all our own accomplishments?
Many of us have big achievements that we can and should be proud of. Whether we excel in sports, in our careers, school, or something else, we each have accomplishments that set us apart from others. When we look at those things, however, compared to the value of knowing and growing in relationship with Jesus, there can be no comparison. Those things may bring limited and temporary satisfaction, but they do not give life. Jesus alone brings us life—love unconditional, peace that passes understanding, comfort in sadness, and hope in difficult circumstances. His presence is a relieving balm for every situation we face. When we abide in Him focusing on who He is rather than who we are, Jesus will satisfy deep within.
The beauty of this passage is that in subtle ways, Paul reminds us that our right standing with God comes only through Jesus. It is not something that we can earn through our actions or our good works. It is something that God did for us. All we have to do is receive His gift of life—Jesus Christ.
Today’s Prayer: Lord, today help us to know You more like Paul describes here and to experience in our own lives the power of Your resurrection through our faith in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.