Philippians 3:7-11 (NIV)
7But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What 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 9and 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. 10I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
When we find gum wrappers or lint in our pockets, it’s so easy for us to toss it. It’s garbage. We don’t give it a second thought. Then there are some things that we keep around forever because it means so much to us or it has made some lasting impression. In this passage, it’s saying whatever it is, it is now all a loss for the sake of Christ. Everything else is garbage compared to knowing Christ our Lord not because those things are all bad or inherently garbage, but because knowing Christ is so much better than all those things. They no longer matter and are blown out of the water. Our identity and righteousness are not based on what good or bad stuff we have done or what we have or don’t have, but rather on what Christ has done and His presence in our life.
Responding to the Transmission
What marks us? What defines us? What do we hold on to as most valuable? For Paul it is Christ and Christ alone. And because of what Christ has done for us, this is true for us as well. It may not be as clear as it was for Paul and sometimes we live acting like this is not true. But as we come to our Father today, we can again lay at His feet our prized possessions (what we love about ourselves) as well as things that have just lingered with us. Let’s bring good and bad, our best memories and worst memories. May we know again that everything else is worthless compared to knowing Christ and experiencing righteousness that comes from Christ. Let’s say yes to knowing the power of His resurrection and even participation in His sufferings. Let’s pray for God’s mission and for others to experience the power of His resurrection.