“though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also 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” Philippians 3:4-8 (NKJV)
Paul explains all the earthly reasons he had to glory because of his Jewish lineage. Then something changed. Paul met Jesus and meeting Jesus had so changed his value system that now he realized that those things were useless to him. They did nothing to help him be righteous and really only served to keep him from really knowing Jesus. He sacrificed these things so that he could know Jesus.
Paul goes on to say that He counted all things as loss. This is pretty neat. The first time Paul mentions this he is talking about a definite time in the past when he counted those things as loss. The second time he mentions it is the present tense indicating that this is a continuing action. This wasn’t a onetime decision that Paul made and then went on to do his own thing. It was a continuous recognition that Jesus was greater than anything else and so he was continually sacrificing anything that would keep him from knowing Jesus better.
Paul says that he has suffered the loss of all things for the sake of Jesus. The idea here is not that these things had been take away but that he forfeited or cast these things away willingly. “All things” is meant to add to the things listed earlier in the passage. All things mean more than just religious things. It also includes social, financial, intellectual and political things as well. When Paul said he suffered the loss of all things He really meant all things. He willingly sacrificed all the things that he’d placed such high value on prior to meeting Jesus. He said that as far as he was concerned these things were rubbish. Why? Why would Paul willingly sacrifice everything in his life and count it as rubbish?
He says that he sacrificed these things for the excellence of the knowledge of Jesus Christ his Lord. He says that his great desire is to know Jesus and the power of His resurrection. This is more than simply knowing about Jesus. Instead it is the idea of truly knowing Jesus through faith. Paul considers knowing Jesus and having a relationship with Jesus to be of greater value than anything else. This is the idea of the word excellence. It means that knowing Jesus and having a relationship with Jesus is greater than anything else in the world. In fact, compared to knowing Jesus and having a relationship with Jesus, everything else is just rubbish.
Jesus was enough for Paul. I’m convinced that this is the way it’s supposed to be for all believers. The hard question for us to answer is, is He?
Is Jesus enough despite the pain that might come into your life?
Is Jesus enough if you suffer the loss of all things?
Is Jesus enough no matter what situation comes into your life?
What if the situation of your life…
…is a job that is harder than you ever expected and isn’t something you really like? If that is the case will Jesus be enough?
…leads to conflict that goes on longer than you thought it would? If that is the case will Jesus be enough?
… involves sickness that lingers? What if cancer suddenly shows up and it goes bad. If that is the case will Jesus be enough?
…involves suffering the pain that comes from the death of a loved one you prayed for God to spare? If that is the case will Jesus be enough?
…involves you trying as hard as you can and your marriage crumbles anyway? If that is the case will Jesus be enough?
…involves all of your financial planning to come to naught and you end up financially ruined? What if you lose everything you have worked so hard to acquire? If that is the case will Jesus be enough?
There is a song called When We See Christ the chorus of the song says, “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus, Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ. One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrows will erase. So bravely run the race, ‘til we see Christ.” As believers we are supposed to understand that Jesus is enough. This is easy enough to say but is it true?