Bible Reference: Philippians 3:8-9
Translation: The Message (MSG)
Bible Text: Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him.
APPLICATION: I love the illustration Paul used to show how much he valued the relationship he had with the God of this universe. A few years ago my family and I had the daunting task of moving out of our home of 27 years into a much smaller accommodation. We had to evaluate all of our earthly possessions and conclude that each item must either: 1). Go with us – meaning we had to find space for it in our smaller accommodation, or 2). We would hold on to the item in storage until we decide if we would ever need it, or are willing to dispose of it, or 3). We could no longer see a need to hang on to the item, and were willing to sell it or give it away. Think about that, together with the mindset of Paul, who was once a valuable resource to earthly kings and nobles, because of his readiness to destroy anything or anyone attributing its value to Jesus Christ. What Paul did could be likened to the example given above about my personal experience, dumping everything we once had, and starting from scratch. Paul did this in giving his total allegiance to Jesus Christ, without the possibility of any interference from anything he may have owned in his past. Paul said that he ‘dumped it all in the trash, so that he could fully embrace the unencumbered grace of Christ’. Friends, it was not until my family and I came to the place that we realized that our earthly belongings was merely ‘stuff’, and added no value to our eternal destination, that we were able to commit to our move. Paul is teaching us in this passage that it is not until we are willing to make Jesus the primary focus in our lives, and release our grip on earthly things, that we would truly embrace Him and be embraced by Him. Jesus went to the cross with only the wrappings around His body, but He did it because of His supernatural love for us, and to provide the means for the forgiveness of our sin. How much are you willing to sacrifice today to truly enhance your relationship with such a Savior as this?
Prayer: Jesus, You are my King – my soon coming King! Thank You for humbly following the Master’s will, to prove Your love for myself and all mankind who would choose You as the focus of our lives. You gave it all for us oh Lord. Please use this reminder by Paul to help us examine our motives and our intentions. Whether we choose to publicize our decision like Paul did, or whether we commit one-on-one with You, I pray that at the end of the day we will reflect back on the decisions we made. Each day we make decisions, some are very deliberate and very firm, while others are simply made by doing nothing at all and being satisfied with status-quo. Touch Your children today oh God and cause them to deliberately make decisions that will draw them to Yourself and to a glorious promise of one day being with You in heaven. I love You Lord and I thank You for first loving me beyond my wildest imagination. These things I ask in the name of Jesus, the Christ, AMEN!