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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord . . .”—Philippians 3:8 (HCSB)
Imagine going to buy a car, a brand new Ferrari—again, imagine! And this Ferrari is fully loaded with everything you could ever want. You buy it and drive it off the lot in style! But little did you know . . .this Ferrari actually has the engine of a beat up, junky old clunker. And while it may look great on the outside, the engine was full of sludge and the gas tank had huge holes in it. And one day soon, this car will leave you stranded on the road, on empty, miles and miles away from your destination. You see, while it may have looked amazing on the outside, the heart of the car was damaged. You got a bad deal.
In Philippians 3:7, the apostle Paul tells us that everything he once thought was gain to him, everything he thought made him a Ferrari Pharisee, was actually a loss (zémia, which means “damaging, a bad deal”).
Basically, what he’s saying here is that he, after having experienced life in Christ, finally realized that his religiosity and all the things he thought made him holy were keeping God at arm’s length; they were actually damaging to him. All that Paul once put his confidence and pride in he now saw as empty, because Jesus wasn’t in it.
Taking it a step further, he says “I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” So not only is everything he held onto as gain now a loss, but now he sees that everything in this world pales in comparison to the eternal, priceless, immeasurable gain that it is to know Jesus.
Everything—relationships, money, status, popularity, career, and anything else you think can fulfill you—is tiny compared to the “surpassing value of knowing Christ.” In the Greek, this phrase basically means to know deeply and intimately from personal spiritual experience the thing that is superior, higher, exceedingly better, above and beyond; the most important, valuable thing in existence.
My friends, like Paul, I want to encourage you not to rejoice in the things of this world. That car will leave you stranded because under the hood it’s damaged and empty. Don’t rejoice or put confidence in your circumstances, your nice house, your status, where you work, or what neighborhood you live in, because all of those things will fade away. Put your confidence in Christ, find your identity in Him, and rejoice in the fact that you can KNOW Jesus! He will never leave you, forsake you, or ever let you down!
DIG: Read Philippians 3 and John 12:25.
DISCOVER: What are some things you considered gain—things you thought filled you and fulfilled you—before Jesus? How do you view those things now?
DISPLAY: Do an internal inventory. Check your heart. What is in the gain category? Is there anything you are placing more value on than your relationship with Jesus? If so, pray and ask the Lord to help you place those things in their proper place so that Christ can take His proper place at the forefront of your heart and life.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.