“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”
Do we count knowing Christ as a priceless privilege? That sense of privilege is manifested in our lives when He is Lord of everything important to us.
After deliberate reflection Paul came to three negative conclusions about personal ambition. First he concluded that his whole career was loss simply for Christ Himself (v.7). Then he considered it loss for the surpassing privilege of knowing Christ personally (v. 8). Finally, he considered his aspirations as more than a minus; concluding that they were “rubbish” (v.8b) in comparison to full fellowship with the Lord.
“For whom I have suffered the loss of all things”
Paul abandoned his success mentality. He had placed his confidence in the wrong goals. There came a time when he abandoned lesser goals.
There is some truth to the statement “The church popular is the church polluted.” When the church puts greater value on acceptance to the world, it loses the core vitality of knowing Christ fully.
“All things” here again means all Paul’s human attainments.
Very few of us in our day suffer much of anything. On the other hand, we fight for every ounce of success possible. Our success is our passion, our ambition. Has knowing Christ cost us anything? Has it cost us our job or business? Some growing Christians realize that their job compromises their convictions. They willingly sacrifice their job for their love of Christ.
The word “loss” suggests an accounting idea. This portrays profit and loss. This word occurs once in verse 7 and twice in verse 8. Paul records both what he gained and what he lost.
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). This passage may refer to the believer who loses the reason for his living before God in time.
Paul was saying, in effect, “Do not look upon me with pity. Wait till you find out what I have received in place of all the things I have lost.”
It is not enough to view ambitions from a positive viewpoint.
To hold Christ exclusively, we must view personal ambition as a “loss.” In order to put priority on the things of greatest value we need to deal with our attitudes about lesser things. When we allow our minds to compete with the knowledge of the excellence of Christ, lesser things gain primacy in our values. Are we dealing adequately with the negative influences that pull us away from knowing Christ intimately?