So much of our lives in western civilization has become a question of “what can I gain?” And “what might I lose?” Basically, it is all about me! The individual that is. Paul’s great passage in Philippians 3 is about gain and loss, but he looks at it from an eternal perspective. Because he is writing to people Who have become caught up in finding earthly titles and possessions their standard of worth, He lists many of his hard-earned accomplishments just to let them know he has indeed achieved a lot.
Then he takes a sharp turn in verse 7. “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” He continues that he has given up all the earned gain to know Christ.
v8…”in order that I may gain Christ 9 and … the righteousness from God that depends on faith.” Not from my accomplishments.
Some of you are saying “yeah, yeah, not new!” And I am with you to a certain degree, but lately Abba has shown me how easily I default to depending on titles and accomplishments. Because I no longer have a single formal paid job, I naturally almost stutter when I asked “What do you do?” I do a lot! but none of it fits in one neat title that others can easily peg me with so the conversation can move along to the weather. For some time now I have given partial information to suit my audience as simply as I can. I have been uncomfortable not having a tidy answer.
Only last month, after years of “transition” did I pull myself out of denial. I even found myself in tears with my spiritual director when I finally admitted to myself that I have a “need” to prove my worth through titles and accomplishments.
I still struggle, but I am no longer in denial that I like my titles and accomplishments. Instead, I remember that I am first and forever a child of the King of Kings. My first love is to know God, His love, power, even His sufferings, death and resurrection. “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” Verse 12
That’s really THE ultimate Gain! God made me HIS. That is the most important title I own. Everything else is easy to count as loss so I can have it. And I received that most important gift freely by faith. Nothing I gained on my own can honestly compete with the perfect love of our Creator.
How are you doing with these gains and losses, eternally speaking? “I press on to make it my own….”