Friday, April 18, 2013

Philippians 3

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I counted as loss for the sake of Christ…

Paul effortlessly recounts his credentials. He calls them ‘confidence of the flesh’ . who he is, where he came from, and what he has accomplished in his life paints a picture of stature and admiration to those in his day.  Yet paul considers these rubbish, because each feat took time away from time spent with Christ.  He realizes the loss and empty righteousness all these accomplishments provides for him in life in comparison to Christ who is the true righteousness of God, obtained through faith, not works.

Paul rattles of his Achievements, to his readers.  As we read his triumphs in our time, culture and according to our faith it is easy to disregard his deeds as trivial overstatements.   To many in American culture circumcision is a foreign concept, an invaluable amenity.  The law, zeal, a Hebrew of Hebrews, all unimpressive in our western world and according to our grace based faith; we just cannot connect with the status and significance of those things which Paul boasted of, but a PH.D in law, now that we acknowledge, the office of governor, something we can look up to, a Rockefeller or Kennedy successor, someone we can understand.  So I would challenge you to list

Your achievements, would they look something more like this…

Educated at …,

married to  …,

holding a masters in … ,

certified with…,

annual  Salary of…,

awarded …

acknowledged for…

what do you find is most valuable in life?

Each of us carry around mental memos of proud attributes: who we are, what we have accomplished, where we live, who we know. we think in some way these things matter, as Paul once did.  We keep these hidden when humility calls, taking them out when relevant and necessary to the gathering masses. Sometimes perhaps to encourage, or remind ourselves. I know we each have our “lists”.  What endeavors and accomplishments do you carry in your pocket as a license to

Justify your existence. Where is your pride? We hold our awards up like badges of approval before men and God to gain right standing in life?

Stocking empty egos like a life boat ready to set sail.  Do you count all those things as gain on your behalf, to build the confidence of your flesh, and remain significant in the eyes of mere men? what about Jesus?

is every accomplishment , every dollar, every minute every day that we spend working on credentials and achievements one more day you have not worked on knowing Christ more fully? What in fact are we truly building?  a house built on the shifting sands of ambition and recognition? or a an eternal house built on the rock of Jesus Christ.

More than that, I count ALL things loss in view 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 in order that I might 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 which comes from God on the basis of faith that I may know him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings.  Philippians 3:7-10

Paul clearly lost all his accomplishments and the glory he had collected over the course of his life, and he admits ‘FOR Christ I lost them and because of Christ, and yet, even now looking back they were nothing in comparison to what I have gained and will gain.’  It’s as if the further he separated from his endeavors, the clearer he saw them for what they were; rubbish! He also acknowledges they were his best efforts to gain righteousness; however after losing it all he realizes it was an awesome exchange for the true righteousness which comes from Christ alone through nothing but faith.  SO I ask one more time what are your accomplishments? Would you be willing to release them, lose them, forsake all your hard work which has gained a measure of righteousness but keeps you from pursuing the righteousness of Christ through faith and knowing him? Paul was willing and he tells us there was a much greater reward in losing what he had earned than in gaining what he worked so hard to achieve.

I suppose paul was able to reach the goal of life, by letting go of goals in life.

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