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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Good Riddance

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 3:8 – ESV)

Paul had it all and he lost it all, and no matter what anyone else may get or achieve, all things are nothing compared to Christ. Paul not only counted things as loss, he actually lost them, as we see him here, down from his lofty perch and into prison. He did suffer loss; he suffered the loss of prestige, position, popularity, power, and personal well-being. Now he goes on to say that they weren’t even loss, but all things are refuse compared to Christ. It isn’t like losing anything at all, as his perspective changes. Look at the progression even in this one verse.

For true repentance to happen, you must reckon that what you gain is greater than what you leave behind. You empty yourself of yourself; your heritage, your past, your social standing, your position, your passion, your performance, everything. Value the relationship with God above all else. Paul was speaking of leaving behind his Jewish heritage to gain something greater, which was Christ. True repentance is trusting that God is greater than what you think you need.

Paul represents the very best that religion, philosophy, tradition, moral excellence, and hard work has to offer – education, intelligence, doctrine, zeal, service, and so on. To be able to sweep aside all religious upbringing, moral philosophy, and tradition with one wave of the hand and consider it refuse is to know Jesus experientially as enough.

What we need is to see the true worth of Christ, and the more we see it, the more we will repent. It is not a matter of trying hard to give it up for God, it is a matter of seeing just how beautiful Jesus really is, and then we will gladly drop those other things in order for more of Christ. Now actually it is not more of Him, since we are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10), it is just less of ourselves. Jesus is better, brighter than anything else you may give up. God leads us to sacrifice ourselves (Romans 12:1-2) as we learn to repent more and more. We lose hold of our own life and God gives us His (John 12:25). It is not simply a state of mind, is it is a renewed mind that has seen a reality. It is a real thing, it is a tangible thing, it is more real than any supposed good thing you want to hang onto, or any bad thing you think you cannot do without.

When you see who God is, what He is really like, then you are being enlightened by God and can now repent. You need to see more of God, when Paul saw Jesus as enough then he was able to easily lay down his old life, in fact, he threw his old life away like it was garbage.

Paul did not have to try and give things up; he had learned to give them up as he learned the surpassing worth of Christ. This is the key to repentance. Repentance means a change of mind, and as we change our minds about trusting God, we are looking away from our sin and ourselves and to God. We can know if we are truly doing this because we drop what is in our hands, our heads, our hearts, and we long for God to fill what was really missing or veiled in our lives. The things we were once so passionate about are now replaced with a burning zeal for God’s glory.

Then we can look at our old life and say good riddance.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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At 10:54 PM, Blogger Even So... said...

Look at that verse and think of this illustration:

You go into your email, see a message you don't like or want anymore (count as loss), and you hit delete (suffer the loss), then you have to go to your garbage bin and hit delete again (count as rubbish), and it says are you sure?, and you hit yes (good riddance)...

At 10:56 PM, Blogger Even So... said...

Or perhaps like you have something you think is valuable in your hand, but you are in the dark...the lights come on, and you realize it is a rat! It would be easy to say, "get that thing off of me!"

This is what Paul is saying here...

At 4:50 PM, Blogger Craver Vii said...

This is a favorite passage for my family as it was the topic of my son-in-law's first sermon.


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