Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The great trade-off

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Philippians 3:1-21


TO CHEW ON: "Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ." Philippians 3:8

Paul, here, could be the merchant in the story Jesus told: "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls. who, when he had found one pearl of great price went and sold all that he had and bought it" (Matthew 13:45-46).

What had Paul "sold" (Philippians 3:4-6)?
- His own efforts to satisfy the law.
- His confidence of special Hebrew-born status.
- His self-assuredness from his training, education and prestige as a Pharisee.
- Faith in his zealous religious work.

And what did he get in exchange (Philippians 3:7-21)?
- Intimate knowledge of Jesus.
- Right standing with God based on faith not works.
- Power (resurrection power).
- Suffering - to the extent of death.
- A new life-goal.
- A new final home.
- The hope of a glorified body.

A sidebar article in my Bible comments:
"This passage sums up Paul's primary pursuit in life: to know Christ. From a prison cell in Rome, Paul pens this personal letter in which he comes to terms with an accomplished past and a confining present. After his past as a persecutor of God's people and through his "superior" religious activities as a Pharisee, Paul came to the liberating conclusion that all is rubbish compared to knowing the Lord (Philippians 3:8).


Freed from the stagnation of yesterday's victories and the emotional paralysis of yesterday's mistakes, Paul knew that the only thing that ultimately counted was knowing the Lord and being obedient to His will." - Steven Fry, New Spirit Filled Life Bible, p 1664.

I ask myself, have I felt the heartbeat of such a passion to know Christ? Could I readily "count all things loss," turning my back on everything that is "me"—my education, family comfortable home, attainments—if such relinquishment meant I would get I would get to know Jesus better? What about you?

PRAYER: Dear Holy Spirit, please birth in me a deep hunger and longing for more of Jesus. Put in my heart a burning desire to know God in a greater way then ever before. Amen.

MORE: "He is No Fool" - by Twila Paris
 




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