Lent Devotional: Philippians 3:1-11

by Jonathan Haefs

Philippians 3:1-11 (click here)
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…
(Philippians 3:7-8)

What do you have in your life that you would call “gain?”

For the apostle Paul the list went on and on. His heritage, his education, his citizenship, his social position, his moral character… all of it… gain!

But… Paul says that he counted all of this loss for the sake of Christ. What does he mean? “For the sake of Christ” is another way of saying “for the glory of Christ.” So somehow, Paul’s counting all his “gains” as “losses” is for Jesus’ glory! How does that work?

We used to play this game when I was a kid where you had to think of the one item you would take with you on a deserted island… or another way of playing it would be to think of what one item in your house you’d save if your house was burning down. I know it’s all a bit macabre, but we loved thinking through these hypothetical situations.

In essence, we were choosing the thing we loved the most, the thing which was most valuable to us, the thing we held up as more glorious than everything else.

This is what Paul does in his life with Christ! In order to hang onto Christ, Paul had to let all the other gains of his life go up in smoke. He had to abandon all to hang on to Jesus… and he did! He did suffer the loss of all things in order that he might gain Christ!

Jesus became his gain! As Paul lost things he once thought valuable or that he once depended upon, he found Christ to be more valuable and more dependable than all the rest! With each loss he had to hold on to Jesus all the more… he gained more of Jesus. AND with each loss, the world saw more and more the value of Christ in Paul’s life. Jesus was glorified! Paul did it all for the sake of Christ!

So… when life’s deserted islands come your way… situations that demand you to abandon all except that which is most valuable… when the house of your life is burning down, and you can only hang on to that which is most glorious… what or who will be gloriously most valuable to you?

What will you count as loss… and what or who will be your gain?

*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.