Knowing Christ (08-06-22)
Bible Reading: Philippians 3:7-11
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.
I want to know Christ, yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
I wonder what you would consider your most valuable possession. Maybe it’s your home or your car. Or an item in your home. Or your savings.
What about your achievements in life? What are you most pleased with? Maybe it was an exam you passed, a career move you took, an investment you made or a relationship you developed.
And what about the decisions you have made in life, which do you think was the most significant?
For Paul, now chained in a prison for preaching the gospel of Jesus, the answer to all of these questions is Christ.
Born into an influential family, Paul valued knowing Christ above anything he would inherit from his family or earn himself. Rising to prominence defending his inherited faith, he valued knowing Christ above anything he had achieved. Amongst all the decisions he took in life, for Paul his most important decision was to know Christ. By comparison he sees everything else as mere garbage.
How would you rate your possessions, your achievements and all the decisions you have taken in your life against the decision to follow Christ?
For Paul, his decision cost him his freedom and ultimately his life. And only today I read about twenty Christians executed by Islamic extremists in Nigeria ‘as a warning to other Christians.’ Like Paul they lost all things but gained Christ.
The choice we make to follow Christ will not have the potential repercussions that a similar choice would have in Nigeria, Afghanistan, North Korea and many other countries around the world, but I wonder how our faith would stand up if it did.
For Paul, knowing Christ was paramount, but it was not a one-off ‘nice-to-meet-you’ knowing, it was a lifetime of discovering more of the nature of God, of what is gained through faith in Christ, and of our ultimate resurrection from the dead.
Let us hold lightly to our possessions and achievements and let us hold firmly to the decision to know Christ.
Father God, help me to know Christ more each day. Amen
All I once held dear