To win Christ

Image Source: WikiMedia Commons
Image Source: WikiMedia Commons

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. Phil. 3:8

It struck me when I last read this passage that to gain Christ, Paul first willingly suffered the loss of all things. Now in applying this to ourselves, I don't think this means a vow of perpetual poverty, but it does mean that we have given everything to Christ, to let him do with it as he pleases: our stuff, our bodies, our futures, our families, our reputations, our comforts, our all. You cannot have Christ and take the world with you. The door through which we enter the kingdom of God is strait and the way narrow.

Now there are many folks who will not want to do this. Like the rich young ruler who went away grieved when told by Christ that he must part with his riches, they prefer the things of this world to those of the next. Indeed, it is hard; our Lord said it is easier to get a camel though the eye of a needle than it is to get a rich man into the kingdom of God.

But with God all things are possible. The apostle Paul himself was a testament to the power of God's grace in this regard. He not only suffered the loss of all things, but counted them as "dung," and as J. I. Packer once put it, no one goes around complaining the loss of dung. But how do you get this way? How do you so willingly part with present goods?

The answer is found in Paul's estimation of the worth of Christ: he talks about "the excellency of the knowledge of Christ." To "win" Christ means that he saw the Lord as an inestimable treasure, as indeed he is. To part with the things of this world, however desirable, is nothing in comparison to gaining Christ. To have this world is to have that which cannot ultimately satisfy; to have Christ is to have the fountain of living waters. To have this world is to have that which you must eventually lose; to have Christ is to have eternal life. "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose" (Jim Elliot).

Like the man in the parable of the treasure in the field, Paul sold everything to have it. It was not a foolish choice, but consummate wisdom. May we too, by God's grace, let go of the things of this world and may Christ hold first place in our hearts. May he be the treasure we desire.

By: Jeremiah Bass