I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead.
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 2:7-14
Paul is telling us that his greatest desire is to know Christ and to be obedient to what God has called him to. Everything else is worthless. Literally his every thought and action is so that he can know Christ better so that he can suffer with him and share in his death. What? He wants to suffer with him, share in his death? Why?! He wants to do these things because this life simply isn’t worth hanging on to without Jesus at the center of it all. Each day is a sweet, sweet blessing and should not be wasted, but it is eternity that we look forward to. In doing all that God has called us to and living in obedience to him because our greatest desire in this life is to glorify him we find peace and joy. Y’all, when I am focused on the things of this world I am out of my mind. Out of my mind! When I pray that today I am about kingdom things and not my own trials I find peace in that space. This is how God has called us to live and for the reason of experiencing peace in this life. Our eyes are on the prize: heaven. In obedience we get to help God’s people and experience true lasting joy.
I am so hot headed and emotional. I can get my feathers ruffled so easily sometimes. These are the times I am so focused on my plans and my feelings rather than God’s. It makes me selfish and self-centered. Once I step back and talk to God about these things, he so lovingly reminds me they just don’t matter. When he humbles my heart, I am so grateful. It reminds me not to take myself so seriously and, like Paul, focus on God’s plans. This is the race we are to run. Not a race for earthly praise, but a life filled with praises to God. Let us live in this beautiful space of glorifying God not ourselves.
Gracious and Loving God, I pray that today I read these verses and let them remind me to discard everything that does not bring me to a closer relationship with You. What are the things today that You have called me to? Please help me surrender the things that are keeping me from You. What things do I need to let go of because they are causing me such heartache? Open my eyes and my heart to Your will. Help me to take my struggles to the foot of the cross and leave them there. I know I was not meant to carry them alone. Like Paul, help me; “press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” In Jesus Name, Amen.