“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:7-11).
The man who wrote these words once thought being well educated and well-place for an important position in his religion was very important. At one time he thought that lending his approval to the cruel, unlawful execution of a faithful gospel preacher was an important – and right – thing to do. This same man once thought that persecuting Christians was so important that he obtained letters of authority from his religious leaders to go to a foreign city, arrest them and bring them all the way back to Jerusalem to be tried and sentenced – most likely to die for their crime of following Jesus, the lowly Galilean. These were the things that drove Saul of Tarsus before he met Jesus on that day he was going to Damascus to do what he thought was most important – persecute Christians.
But something happened to him that turned his world upside down. Something happened that caused his whole value system to be thrown out. Something happened that turned him from being a person driven by religious hate, intolerance and misguided zeal to one who lived to spread the news of God’s love freely bestowed to redeem the whole human race.
The thing that happened to this man once known as Saul of Tarsus was that Jesus appeared to him, spoke to him and set him on an entirely new course of life. As soon as he learned what Jesus wanted him to do, the only thing that was important to him was to serve his Lord. He now saw how the things he had valued had become the source of his mistaken zeal for God and of his sins of insolence and violence against the Lord and His people. Everything he once valued was immediately thrown out because he now considered it all to be worse than worthless. To him it all was now vile, filthy refuse.
What is important to you? What drives you to do the things you do? What are you basing you life and your hope upon? Rest assured that if it is not “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,” as Paul the apostle says, then you are basing your life on something that you will one day see as a pile of rotten garbage!