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.
Paul had just listed his spiritual pedigree, beginning with his birth into the tribe of Benjamin and continuing through his life accomplishments and exalted position among the Jews. But then he said he counted it all rubbish, that he might gain Christ.
We might understand this as Paul saying any personal accomplishments pale in comparison to knowing Jesus. He equates them with rubbish, and that is indeed a fitting comparison. Knowing Christ is what gets us into heaven, and not one single accomplishment will mean anything unless it was done for God’s glory.
The Bible does not forbid or even diminish the importance of setting goals and accomplishing things in this life, but it does continually remind us of their proper place, which is always second to our faith. Pursuits of education, careers, and family are all very time consuming, and it is easy to become spiritually disproportionate. We would do well to check our lives in the midst of the pursuit of personal goals to make sure that our faith and our spiritual walk have not been relegated to back-burner positions.
Life is a wonderful blessing from God, and I believe that we Christians ought to live life more joyfully and fully because of the one truth Paul expresses here. In comparison to knowing Christ, every life accomplishment is rubbish. But when the goals and pursuits exceed their proper places and are exalted above faith, and when those goals and pursuits experience the normal ups and downs of life, you are forced to ride the high and low tides of whatever you have fixed your hope on. Jesus, however, never changes. If your walk with Him is always your top priority and your goals are in their rightful places, life will be much more balanced than when you ride the ebb and flow of life’s changes.
As a Christian, your eternal destiny remains the same every day of your life. On easy days and hard days alike, in both good times and bad times, heaven remains a constant. Anything and everything else is subject to change without notice. If you have exalted anything other than Christ to top priority, a wave of disappointments inevitably awaits you.
Everything accomplished in life is rubbish compared to knowing and serving Jesus Christ. Tell someone today how wonderful He is!
Excerpt from “Body Builders” now available on Amazon.