Where Joy Finds Its Value

6.16.23 Devo Image

“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.”—Philippians 3:7–9 (NIV)

Everything in this life and world is meaningless and worthless apart from a relationship with Jesus. I cannot stress these words enough. Let me show you . . .

In the above passage, Paul explains when he came to Christ, the things he saw as valuable were worthless. Everything he once put his security in, everything he believed would bring him fulfillment, everything he found himself striving so hard to achieve and have and be, all the accolades, accomplishments, possessions, morality, and religion, were empty and meaningless. 

Even deeper, Paul says, “I consider them garbage.” The English translators were being a little soft when they translated this word. The word for garbage actually translated as refuse or dung. In the most basic of modern translations, Paul is saying, “I consider everything in this world as a poop emoji” in comparison to the surpassing, superior, excellent worth of knowing Jesus.

Consider the things we so highly value on a daily basis. For some, it’s our appearance: our physique, muscles, hair, clothes, or shoes. For some, it’s money. What’s my portfolio looking like? What’s my net worth? What does my reputation, job, grades, family, friends, possessions, and pleasures look like?

Now, are all these things bad? No, of course not! But consider the wisdom found in the Book of Ecclesiastes for a second: “Meaningless! Meaningless . . . Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 1:2 NIV). 

Wisdom? Pleasures? Work? Advancement? Riches? Meaningless. King Solomon comes to the conclusion that without God, there is no meaning to life.

Friends, I pray you walk away from today’s devotion knowing that Jesus is everything! There is no greater joy in this life and nothing more valuable than knowing and living in relationship with Jesus, and everything in life is greater and full of joy in light of a relationship with Jesus!

Wisdom finds true meaning in light of knowing Jesus. Pleasures such as food, nature, and art become more vibrant and beautiful in Jesus and cause us to give thanks to God for making beautiful things. Work, advancement, and riches find purpose and calling in Jesus. Our relationships, families, marriages, etc. are all made richer and more fulfilling in Jesus and draw us deeper into relationship with Him.

Everything we could ever hope to have, do, enjoy, or gain in this world falls short of and is made better by the eternal, priceless, immeasurable gain of knowing Jesus.

Look at what the psalmist declares in Psalm 16:11 (ESV): “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” 

Friends, everything we’re looking for and longing for in this life can be found in Christ. If you seek to find joy in the things of this world, it will always be elusive, just out of reach, and unattainable. But when you press into the grace of God in Christ and put your hope, security, and purpose in Him, you’ll find true joy, you’ll see those things for what they truly are, and you’ll actually enjoy them in light of knowing Jesus!

Pause: Why did Paul consider everything he once valued as loss and rubbish compared to knowing Jesus? What have you learned about the joy that comes from knowing Him?

Practice: In your quiet time this week, consider what might be keeping you from knowing Christ in a deeper way. Be honest 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 everything is meaningless and worthless compared to and apart from knowing Christ Jesus. For the times when I place a higher value on the things of this world, on my desires, 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 with the truth. Reshape my desires and worldview so I may always rejoice in You above all else. Amen.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

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.