Everything Is Secondary Compared to Jesus

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” - Philippians 3:12

Dear Friends, As we set our eyes toward Christmas, and the inevitable Christmas Wish List, Philippians 3:7-14 couldn’t be more perfect! Paul is continuing with the fact that he himself puts no confidence in himself, or in his own accomplishments, as we talked about last week. He doubles down in verse seven, “whatever were giant to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” It’s not just that he’s not hanging his hat on these honors and achievements, he actually considers them loss, actually, the word is closer to what we’d call dung! And he doesn’t just feel this way about his accomplishments, no everything is secondary, everything is worthless when it’s compared to the “surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” He recognizes that it’s his knowledge of Jesus Christ and his desire to know him more that has caused Paul to lose out on so much - his former prestige, his good standing among the religious leaders and some social and political elites, but he’s ok with that. Because the accolades and honors and right standing in society is nothing compared to the righteousness before God that Paul is after, which is only found in him, that is Jesus Christ. And Paul ties it back into the law here, the right way of living that he’d been handed (that God had handed down), he realizes it doesn’t lead to a right-standing with God. That following the law is not equal to simply believing and trusting in God’s love, shown in Jesus Christ. Shown in Jesus death and resurrection. Yes, that’s where Paul sees it most powerfully and that is what Paul is willing to experience as well. The sufferings which lead to death (v10) because resurrection doesn’t happen until after death. What a powerful reminder to us, as we experience little and big deaths, and ultimately our own mortality, that the resurrection, the fullness of life that Jesus exhibited after the cross, cannot be known and experienced without death. We can’t experience full life here, we can’t experience resurrection, without all those little deaths, the deaths to ourselves, to our wants and desires, to our plans, until we submit them, let them die, and allow them to be resurrected by God. Paul then reminds us, just in case we had thought he was speaking from full experience, that this is still a future-oriented issue. He’s not arrived, he hasn’t fully figured it out, he’s the preacher who is preaching first and foremost to himself. “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” - Philippians 3:12 Paul is a man in motion, a man under construction, a man who is trying desperately to let his head-knowledge be lived out and experienced in his heart and his hands. He forgets what is behind him, he strains toward what is ahead, he presses on toward the goal… not because he’s earning something, but because he has experienced something deep and profound and wants more of it, wants it to be fully realized in all of who he is. And… because he has heard the call of the good news of God in Jesus Christ. May we all continue on that path too, especially this season! There is, truly, nothing better than knowing Jesus! Welcoming You to Grow in Jesus, Pastor Don

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