“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.” Philippians 3:8
In his prior life, the Apostle Paul (known as “Saul” then) had much. He possessed a reputation as a hard working Pharisee who rapidly worked himself up the ranks in the religious realm. Having advanced so far while still a young man, he had every prospect of a bright future. In this he resembled the rich young man who came to Jesus (Matthew 19:16-22), but Paul responded differently than this young man. The young man went away sorrowful when Jesus asked him to depart from his worldly possessions (indicating where this man’s treasure resided). Paul, on the other hand, gladly gave up everything he had built up to that point in order to follow Christ. Paul chose the wiser path.
We, too, get confronted with similar choices. When presented with the gospel and promise of an eternal inheritance with Christ, we must consider what we must give up. If we look to Jesus and the reward, we will gladly give up the transitory rewards of this life. But if we linger long on this question, the fame and fortune of this present life tempt us to “walk away sorrowful” as did the rich young man.
Such temptations often fall to young people. They have their entire lives ahead of them filled with the hope of fame, accomplishment, and money. And if they linger long on this question, they soon lose their desire to give up these things for the glories of following Christ. They are caught between two worlds, and have begun to lose the fight.
We cannot tarry with these questions, but must firmly decide for Christ. Here’s how Paul did it:
1) He accurately weighed the rewards of this life.
In the verse above, Paul counted the gains of his previous life “rubbish,” and gladly discarded them. He found the answer to the age-old question, “What is the meaning of life?” As a spiritual account, he weighed this world against the glories of knowing Christ and concluded it was no contest. He would follow Christ.
2) He looked to the reward.
God does not ask us to make a “dumb deal.” Far from it. In giving up the illusory spoils of this life, he gained Christ. What more could he want or ask for? Simply put, he gave these up that he might “gain Christ,” something he evaluates as “surpassing worth.” We, too, must look to the wisdom and reward of following Jesus. Consider these benefits:
*Forgiveness of sins
*Fellowship with God and other believers
The list continues and would fill a large volume. Continue to follow Christ and gladly part with the rewards of this life as Daniel did (Daniel 5:17), and eagerly pursue the hope before you. Many in this life will call you a fool, but they, in fact, are the foolish ones. In choosing Christ and the life He plans for you, you display great wisdom and God will one day reward your commitment and service to Him.
Posted on Fri, June 13, 2014
by Sam Petitfils