Gaining Through Losing (Phil. 3:7-8)

Don’t you just love to lose? No, really. Don’t you just love to exude all your energy into a DIY project and have it turn out to be an absolute waste of time? Or how about writing an exhaustive research paper only to have your computer shut down before you could hit Save? NOT. AT. ALL.

We hate to lose, and we certainly don’t want to feel like our time is completely wasted. Did you know that Paul said he counts ALL things as loss? Not some, not many, but ALL things. What was Paul saying here in Philippians 3?

He begins by speaking to the church at Philippi about evil workers. He calls the illegitimate hypocrites “dogs” and warns the church of concision—the cutting down of the body of Christ. Interestingly, he turns the reader’s attention to himself. He says in verse 4, “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:” He even recounts his former life of when he persecuted the church of God:  “touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.”

Paul teaches us a valuable lesson here: anyone is susceptible to living by the “confidence in the flesh.” Paul knew of the spiritual death that fleshly confidence and carnal pleasures can bring in the life of a Christian, and he was no exception to the rule. He realized that what the world esteems as gain, God sees as nothing but wood, hay and stubble.

Solomon was a great king of his day.  He seemed to have it all: women, wine, wealth, wisdom, worship, and writings. Yet in Ecclesiastes 2:17, he said, “Therefore I hated life…for all is vanity [emptiness] and vexation of spirit.” Solomon eventually learned that everything “under the sun” did not compare to being under the Son.

If we are not careful, we as men can fall straight into this gripping vice of Satan and place all things temporal above all things Godly. This trap deceives us into believing that we can work a job that takes us away from God and family while justifying it and saying, “Oh, well I must provide. God understands.” Or this mindset makes us think that a good financial safety net is all we need to be secure. But when does it stop? How much money do we have to have in the bank to give God the preeminence He deserves?

You see, it’s not about seeking after a what, but a Who. Paul states that all these temporal things are loss. Why? “…That I may win [gain] Christ.” His pedigree as a Jew could not gain eternal life or riches for him; so it was not his own righteousness of the law that he sought.  Instead, he sought to gain the righteousness which was of God through faith.

Think back to a man by the name of Job. God allowed Satan to strip everything from him, yet what he gained far surpassed all that he could have imagined. I am not talking about the tenfold restoration he received after his trial. Oh no, my friend, I am speaking of the one thing he received that was worth every hour in the wilderness: God Himself.

Can I challenge you today to stop chasing after what God sees as worthless and to start seeking Him Who is Worthy. As the hymn so simply explains,

Worldly treasures, all forsaken,

Take me Jesus, take me now!

I surrender all.

©Copyright, Tyler Robertson, 2019. All Rights Reserved.

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