February 25, 2024 | Doug Sauder
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“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 (NIV)
Everything in this life and world is meaningless and worthless apart from a relationship with Jesus.
In this passage, Paul explains when he came to Christ the things he saw as valuable were actually worthless. All of those advantages he had, as far as accolades, accomplishments, possessions, morality, and religion were concerned, were all empty and meaningless. Even deeper, the Greek word for loss more accurately describes these things as being damaging. What Paul once considered good, meaningful, and fulfilling, he now realizes were actually doing him harm.
Whether it’s the work of religion, secular humanistic morality, pleasure seeking, or living our best life, these things will never bring wholeness, satisfaction, purpose, or meaning. Instead, they’ll produce an endless, fruitless pursuit of a purpose that will never come and often leaves us feeling even emptier than we did before, which will lead to an even deeper feeling of purposelessness and hopelessness and keep us so busy in our pursuit that we drift further and further away from the simple truth that wholeness, identity, joy, hope, and purpose are found in knowing God and enjoying Him forever.
Everything we could ever hope to have, do, or gain in this world pales in comparison to the eternal, priceless, immeasurable gain that it is to know Jesus, be known by Jesus, and make Jesus known! Paul continues by saying he counts all the most valuable things in human existence as worthless compared to knowing Jesus, “for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8 NKJV).
When Paul tells us all the riches and glorious things of this world are rubbish compared to Christ, he speaks from experience because he had it all and lost it all for the sake of Christ. He lost his wealth, status, title, old friends, nice house, family, health, and freedom. But he still rejoices because he has Jesus. He finishes this thought by saying, “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.”
Did you know that in order to experience the power of the resurrection, we must first know the cross? Jesus wasn’t resurrected until after He first went to the cross. Paul is telling us the resurrected life always follows the crucified life.
We should all want to know the power of the resurrection because we all want heaven. But we must recognize and embrace the fact that in order to experience resurrection, we must first die to our old self. And when we do, when we die to our sinfulness and selfishness and surrender to Jesus, we will see how worthless it all is compared to knowing and being found in Christ. And in this, we can rejoice in any and all things because even if we have nothing else, when we have Christ we have EVERYTHING! Not because of our net worth or worthiness, but because of Jesus’ worth and the pricelessness of knowing Him and walking with Him.
Pause: Why did Paul consider everything he once valued as loss and rubbish compared to knowing Jesus? What have you learned about the value of knowing Him?
Practice: In your quiet time this week, consider what might be keeping you from knowing Christ in a deeper way. Be honest with yourself about areas where you’ve placed a higher value on things, accomplishments, etc. than your relationship with Jesus?
Pray: Father, I know Your Word tells me that everything is meaningless and worthless in comparison to and apart from knowing Christ Jesus. For the times when I place higher value on the things of this world, on my own desires, on accomplishments, pleasure, or even my own merits to earn your favor and find purpose and meaning in life, I repent and ask You to forgive me. Keep my heart and mind aligned to the truth. Reshape my desires and worldview so I may always value You above all else. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at 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.