Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order 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 comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness of God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection of the dead. ~Philippians 3:8-11 (ESV)
Jesus once asked the question: What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but forfeit his life? (Luke 9:25)
Paul took this question to heart. Before he came to know Jesus, Paul was a rising star with great potential as a religious leader over the Jews (3:2-7). But once he encountered Jesus, his aim forever changed. It was no longer notoriety, education, or power that drove him. No, he weighed everything in the balance and decided that a trash heap life was better.
A trash heap life compares everything the world has to offer to Jesus and says, “Jesus is infinitely greater.” It understands that gains in this world, while potentially useful tools, do not result in eternal gains. What good is it to have great education, much wealth, and fame and notoriety if it gets you nothing in the end?
The one inevitable that every man and woman faces is death. Most do all they can to delay death, but eventually it catches up to us. Then, everything we worked so hard to gain is let loose from our grip. We came into the world with nothing, we leave the world with nothing. Everything we earned and gained passes on to someone else. With enough time, even our memory is forgotten in history (with very rare exception).
A trash heap life realizes these realities and says, “I want more.” It realizes that the only way to get the more is through Jesus. So, Paul could cry out in passion, “I want to know him!” For Paul saw that the benefit of knowing Jesus wasn’t just for this life, but for eternity beyond. To know Jesus as Lord and Savior is to have a part in the resurrection to life. That is, one day our bodies will be raised uncorrupted and incorruptible, glorified by and together with Jesus, that we might experience unending joy.
The trash heap life longs for that day. If we have education or money or fame, we look at these only as tools to help guide us and guide others to Jesus, who infinitely matters. If we lose those things in this world, we still put our hope in Jesus who will give us much, much better things in the days of eternity to come. So, we cry out along with Paul: I want to experience the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus!
New posts from this devotional series in Philippians will run most Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.