Why lose anything for Jesus?

Modern society has a demanding sense of entitlement that does not hesitate to challenge those who fail to deliver what they assume should be theirs. This mindset not only fails in the secular world, but it also fails in the spiritual realm. Repeatedly throughout the New Testament, we read of the cost of following Jesus Christ, which does not sit well with the me-centric mentality of the world.

From amongst biblical people, the apostle Paul had lost all this world claims to be precious. Ironically, it was the very society who promoted earthly treasures and self-advancement, who violently stripped all these things from Paul. Such is the hypocrisy of me-centric thinking.

So, Paul writes to the Christians in Philippi, that 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 (Philippians 3:8). Paul knew and felt the price he had incurred when writing these words. Writing this while chained to a Roman soldier during his house imprisonment, Paul was not self-righteously spouting superficial words that had not come at great personal cost. He truly had lost everything. What motivated this self-made and prosperous Pharisee to accept everything being taken from him by the society he helped build.

Philippians 3:9-10 provides the answer. Paul continues to explain that to be found in Him (Christ), not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith – that I may know Him… Paul could not have written words more counter everything that the world and religion represents if he tried. You see, at the heart of the matter, Paul recognised that only faith in Christ qualified him to be gifted with Christ’s righteousness. The righteousness Paul had previously attempted to earn through adhering to the law proved to be unattainable and self-deceiving. The status he had previously sought through rising in the Jewish religious system had robbed him of the very thing he was in pursuit of.

As with many of us, Paul learned the hard way, that he could not dictate his right standing before Holy God. He could not use the world’s society and religious system to become acceptable to God. No, the only path for Paul, as with us, was humility. Having realised the impossibility of achieving  what he so desperately wanted, Paul exercised faith in Christ. And so it happened, upon believing in Christ, God the Father authorised the transaction of Christ’s righteousness being credited to Paul.

Paul had discovered that faith was the only way through which He could know Christ. The priority of achieving worldly success and religious status was immediately replaced with the greatest treasure of all, knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. Now that Paul was acceptable to God in Christ, he understood that everything this world offered was of no value in his relationship with the Lord.

Consequently, when the world removed everything from Paul that it could remove, Paul still possessed that which was most precious, Jesus Christ. Knowing Christ is the greatest treasure a  human can be gifted with. To know Christ is to have sins forgiven and washed clean, it’s to possess eternal life, it’s adoption into God’s family, and it’s to have the joy of salvation with the hope of heaven. While the devil may try to deafen Christians to these truths, the believer in Jesus Christ stands secure and content in them, as did Paul.

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