Genuine disciples desire to know Christ
Read Philippians 3:4-16
“I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
What is your ultimate goal in life? Do you just react in life or do you live with purpose and direction? The greatest tragedy is not in our failures, but in finding success in the things that do not matter. In our quest to find success, we can become obsessed with what, in the end, is insignificant. This is why we should periodically stop and reflect upon our ultimate goals in life to make sure that our focus and priority is upon that which is truly significant.
Paul understood the importance of purposeful living, of having a focus that brings clarity and direction in all the choices and demands of life. For Paul, the one thing that gives meaning in life and defines his priorities of life was the knowledge and relationship with God. IN verses 4-6, Paul examines all the things that Jews in his death would measure a successful life. For the Jew, a successful life was measured by one’s status, determined by outward performance and adherence to the law. For a Jew, Paul’s life was the epitome of success. We all have some measure by which we judge our life a success or failure. For some, it is determined by their career and the level on the ladder of success they have attained. For others, it is measured by financial stability and having all the good things that our society has to offer. It is about respect and recognition by others; it is being recognized as a leader.
However, as Paul examines all the things that we might measure success, he determines that in the end, they are the pursuit of the insignificant. Ultimately the only thing that is worth pursuing is a relationship with Christ and a life where Christ’s character is revealed in us. Eternity, not the present, defines what is truly important. The word “surpassing value” refers to that which far superior and can also be translated, “to take precedence over something else.” In this case, Paul states that the pursuit of Christ is to take precedence over all things. So superior in value is the knowledge of Christ; everything else is manure in comparison (the term rubbish is any materials rejected as worthless, especially solid animal waste-manure). By making this comparison, Paul points to the singularity of our focus.
This brings us back to our goal and purpose and what we value as the measurement of success. For the genuine disciple, there is only one thing that is ultimately worthy of our pursuit: our relationship with Christ; everything becomes subservient to that pursuit. What contributes to this goal is worthy of our attention; what hinders this pursuit is rejected. This is not to say that personal goals that focus on success and financial security are wrong. Still, they should never become more important than our spiritual maturity and relationship with Christ. Our plans for our career, finances, education, hobbies, etc, should all be an outgrowth and governed by the purist of obeying Christ and becoming like him. This is the point that Paul makes when he states, “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17). Is your relationship with Christ your highest priority? If so, how should that affect every other aspect of your life and how you conduct yourself, how you spend your time and money, and what becomes the object of your pursuits. Is this your goal?