But whatever gain I had I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not with a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection and may share in his sufferings, becoming more like him in his death so that by any means possible, I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Working through these verses (and clumsily through Phil 3:12-14), I kept coming back to the same thing that Paul does, over and over again in these five verses:
Whatever righteousness I may have on my own, whatever good I accomplish, whatever I do under my own power in an attempt to justify myself before God—all of it is to be counted as rubbish.
Excrement. (Or a harsher word according to some commentators.)
In other words, if I’m trying to find justification outside of Christ and His life, death and resurrection, whatever I gain has the value of that dog turd you narrowly avoided stepping in this morning.
That may not sound terribly cheery, perhaps even joy-less. And perhaps it is.
If all we have to hope in is what we do, in what we say, in how we act.
But what does Paul say?
In essence, he says I want to be found with the righteousness that comes through faith in Christ and nothing else. I want nothing else—and nothing is worth more than Jesus and His righteousness.
I would rather lose my life for Christ’s sake so that I may find it.
Now the question for me right now is, how will this continue to play out in my life? What am I holding onto right now that I need to stop seeking to find my identity in?
Where am I prizing garbage when I could be rejoicing in the greatest treasure of all?