Consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…
Have you ever made this evaluation in your own life? Have you ever really tried this? Just sit down, and list your assets, the things that are important to you, things you think you could not do without. The factors to which you look for respect, for advancement and acceptance in the eyes of the world. What are your assets, your background, your name, your family standing, your money, your fame, your physical assets, your personality, your education, your training. Have you ever learned Paul’s secret concerning them?
Write them down and see what it is you are counting on. Then remind yourself that as long as you depend on these you cannot lay hold of the riches of God in Christ Jesus. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot cling to both. You cannot drink from this empty cistern and at the same time from the inexhaustible rivers of water that flow from Christ. There must be a flinging away of dependence upon these things, counting them as loss, trash, refuse. Glad to see them go, indifferent whether they stay or not. Then you are set free to lay hold of all that Paul experienced in Christ, which he calls the surpassing worth of Jesus Christ.
Do you know that it is quite possible as a Christian to have Christ living in our heart but not be able to gain Christ, as Paul speaks of it here, to experience him, to actually sense his life flowing through ours, at work in me? We cannot have this until we count the rest as garbage. That is what Paul is setting forth. Have you learned to drop the rod as Moses had to learn — that staff he leaned on for self-support — in order that God might take it and remove the snake and give it back, as he did with Moses? This is the experience of everyone God wants to use for himself, to learn to surrender everything else but dependence upon Christ alone in them. I would like to note here that it wasn’t a difficult thing for Paul to consider all those things as loss. Once he began to sense the tremendous possibilities in Jesus Christ in him, what Christ could and would be through him, he gladly threw away the tattered rags of the reputation he once clung to in order that he might enter into that fully adequate place in Jesus Christ.
This other method of living, clinging to our standing, this desperate worry lest we appear unprepossessing, or different in the eyes of others, this continual defense of our position in the eyes of men, is the reason we have such totally inadequate lives. It is why we never can discover the riches of resource that are in Christ. As Jesus said, no man can serve two masters. There is no grasping both. It’s one or the other. Paul says that when he had thrown away the shreds of his reputation he immediately found that though the way Christ led was through hardships, jails and prisons and pain, that what Christ was to him and what he did through him was of such value he could find no adequate words to express it.
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Today, Lord, I choose to lay down that which I so often put my confidence in and instead seek to rely totally on you and your accomplishments.
Are we choosing to live by means of the power and presence of Christ, or are we held hostage to our dependence on our own weak and inadequate resources?