Philippians 3:8-9, “But indeed I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.”
If the old adage holds true and knowledge is indeed power, than the knowledge of Christ Jesus is the essence of power. No, we do not serve or seek to know Christ because we desire power, but it is a nice added bonus for those who devote themselves to this greatest of all knowledge.
For a homeless man with no future prospects and little potential having suffered the loss of all things might not seem like much of a sacrifice. For one such as Paul who had been groomed from early youth to be a Pharisee, a man wise in letters, languages, and critical thought, a man who was able to stand before the brightest minds of his time and contend for his position, what he lost was not small or insignificant in any way.
Great as his loss was, he counted all he had lost as so much rubbish when compared to the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus.
Before we continue discussing knowledge, certain questions beg to be asked, questions we ought to ask ourselves as individuals with sincerity of heart.
Is our desire to know Christ as bright, burning, and all-consuming as Paul’s was? Are we willing to count the loss of other things in lieu of gaining Christ as rubbish when it occurs? Are we even willing to part with the temporal things for the eternal ones God promises us?
Far too many individuals begin their spiritual journey with the idea that if serving Jesus doesn’t work out, they have a safety net of some sort to fall back on. For some it’s their entourage, whom they have not wholly alienated by being fierce contenders for the faith but simply saw less frequently, for others it is their position in society or some sort of title they hold dear, but to the last, everyone who still clings to the notion of a safety net is not wholly committed to the pursuit of Christ.
The excellence of the knowledge of Christ compels us to pursue Him with abandon. It compels us to gladly suffer the loss of all things, even if those things might include friends, family, loved ones, positions, or possessions.
It is in teaching that we can have the best of both worlds, that we can pursue Christ and the things of the world in equal measure, and somehow keep both parties content, that the modern day preachers have strayed from the path and pierced themselves and those who followed after them through with many sorrows.
Christ is deserving of being singularly pursued!
If I am in a race striving for the prize, I don’t stop and window shop on the way, I don’t take a break for a snack midway through the race, I don’t get distracted by the other marathoners whose intent is as mine, to win the race, I focus, and with total commitment and desire to win I run toward the finish line as swiftly as my feet will take me.
The half-measure gospel has ruined many lives, and those lives it has not ruined have been left utterly powerless because in only devoting half of their hearts and being unwilling to suffer the loss of all things, such individuals never attained the knowledge nor gained Christ as they ought.
There is a fierceness in the single-minded pursuit of a goal that cannot be mimicked, copied, or synthesized by those not possessing the selfsame single mindedness.
Another way of explaining what I’m trying to say is that there are those who play at being athletes or soldiers, and then there are those who are athletes and soldiers. The difference is in their daily routine, their commitment, and their focus when it comes to everything in their lives.
Going to the gym once a week does not a professional athlete make, just as going to church once a week does not a Disciple of Christ make.
From the moment they wake to the moment they go back to sleep the life of a professional athlete as well as the life of a soldier is regimented, disciplined, and well planned out, because his singular desire is to be the best at his chosen profession and excel in every way possible.
If our drive, hunger, and desire for the knowledge of Christ does not equal that of an athlete or a soldier in its intensity, then we will always find reasons for not pressing in, not spending more time at the foot of the cross, and not striving for the greater things of God in our lives, all the while pacifying our burdened consciences with the thought that everyone else is in the same rut, feigning the same worship, and pretending at spirituality in like manner.
We do not desire the knowledge of Christ Jesus because our neighbor is, or our spouse is, or parents are. We are not competing against other individuals for the attainment of this knowledge, but rather against ourselves.
I strive for the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord because I love Him, and I know that the knowledge of Him is superior to any knowledge the world has to offer.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.