Author: Ron Graham
We continue looking at Paul's theme, "We worship God in the Spirit, and glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh" (Philippians 3:3). In this study, we consider what values guide the spiritually minded. The spiritually minded are...
The statement Paul makes (Philippians 3:4-6) may be culturally unfamiliar to us, but it boils down to this: Paul was previously following a materialistic path in his career. Although it was a religious career, he was pursuing it in a carnal way. But a great change came over Paul. He became willing to lose that worldly status in order to know and trust in Jesus Christ.
Of course it's not our desire to be “a nobody”. But it's with God we want to be recognized as somebody. The spiritually minded care little how they rate in the eyes of the world. They care even less for the paraphernalia of status that the world values.
The same attitude is extended to all things material. Paul counted all his previous earthly gain as loss and as rubbish, in order to attain eternal life.
Of course this does not mean that we have to throw away our material blessings. But we have to be willing, even glad, to suffer the loss of those things if necessary to retain Christ. "You joyfully accepted the seizure of your property" said the writer to the Hebrews, "knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession" (Hebrews 10:34).
This is perhaps acceptable if we are talking about money and goods. But we can even lose family —our most valued possession on earth (Mark 10:29-30). This can be a most painful loss, but if we are called upon to suffer it, then we must.
"For me to live is Christ," says Paul, "and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21).
Surely to die is to lose all that one possesses! What sort of a value system sees it as a gain to die?
The answer is that whilst earthly things are all lost, the things of surpassing value are brought nearer by death, and Christians value these eternal things as "very far better" than any temporal earthly possessions they must leave behind.
Like Paul, the healthy-minded Christian will desire on one hand to be with Christ but on the other hand to remain in this world to be of service (Philippians 1:22-26). Fortunately, it will of course be God's decision, not ours, when we leave earthly service and go to be with Jesus.