Such a rich, loaded passage. I would normally want to break this down into smaller chunks, but what is normal. 😉 Instead I mostly want to let the focus fall on the last few verses.
I know he uses the terms loss and rubbish, and I’ve read in a couple places where the word used here is very strong–even to the point of calling it the good word for poop.
I don’t think the point, though, is so much to discount the badges that he has. The successes he’s had in the flesh aren’t useless or pointless. It’s not so much that they have no value… I don’t think.
And maybe I’ll end up saying the same thing, but I think the point here is in contrast with the knowledge of Christ that these things, which in and of themselves are good as far as they go, they pale in comparison. In fact, there is no comparison.
I find my identity in a lot of things that are valuable. I am a good teacher. It defines a lot of my identity. I’m a fairly good husband and a pretty good dad. I identify with those things. I do a decent job representing the voters of Boiling Springs on town council. I try to be vulnerable and honest on FB and Insta in hopes of casting a bit of light on others who may experience similar trials. I love my kids. Yeah I know I already said that I was a good dad. But seriously, I love them so much. And Sarah. Yeah.
Those things are rubbish. Ha. Compared to the knowledge of Christ. To the sharing of his sufferings. Think on that for a lifetime! Becoming like him in his death and attaining the resurrection. Wow.
Again, I think being husband and daddy and teacher and friend are phenomenal. But the Christ. The life and work of Jesus and the path that is opened up for me, for us, due to the Humility and Grace created by him. That’s the value.
Lord let me identify in you and the identity I find in other things flow from that first. The Love and Life and Hope and Peace found in you surpasses all other things. All else will seem to fade. My health, my identities mentioned above. But the Lord reigns forever. He remains. Praise the One.
To write the same things to you is not troublesome to me, and for you it is a safeguard.
2 Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh![c] 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God[d] and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh— 4 even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh.
If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.
7 Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ,[e] the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 I want to know Christ[f] and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.