Philippians 3:7 “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.”
I sometimes find myself evaluating the work I do for Christ with business principles, devoid of God’s Word, or the Spirit’s scrutiny. We use sophisticated applications to gauge how well we are doing in our walk with God, our work for God, and somehow derive our worth to God.
When we work hard on a project, campaign, a lesson, or a message and feel the need to ask the question, “How did I do?”
The feedback we receive affirms our hard work was appreciated and worth the time spent. I believe it is innate in every one of us to know that we matter and make a difference to someone.
If we allow ourselves to use worldly measures for spiritual, we will be sorely disappointed, and in the end, destroyed by the missed expectations we place on God and His work.
Paul gives us a new and fresh perspective in this matter.
If education and upbringing merited any place or position, Paul would have been at the line’s head.
Philippians 3:4-6 “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.”
Yet, he placed it all at Christ’s feet to be made over into what God desired him to be.
Philippians 3:8 “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,”
Paul saw clearly that the way of religion was fruitless. It was a man doing what man can do in man’s power. Paul saw what God can do when a man is wholly given over to allow God to work through him.
Paul points out to us that the power is found in relationship, not religion.
Philippians 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”
Immersing himself in his relationship with God, Paul found what God could do in him and through him was far better than what he could do in the flesh. His priorities were aligned in such a way that there was no room to turn back. He laid it all on the line.
If anything was going to be done, it was by the leading of the Holy Spirit. If there was to be any praise given or received, it would all be given to God.
As Paul wrote to the church in Galatia, he reveals the path he took to get the fruit they saw in his life.
Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
What does the church of today have to boast? Its organization, administration, evangelization, and promotion? Do we put more emphasis on how we appear to man than to God?
Leonard Ravenhill once said,
“The one thing that alarms me in America and England is that there is no alarm in the church. You say, ‘America needs God.’ No, she doesn’t – the church needs God. If the church gets God, America will soon feel it. She’ll be staggering! A preacher said something the other day that is very disturbing to an audience he was addressing. He said, ‘I want to tell you that if God withdrew the Holy Spirit from my church today, it would function tomorrow the same way – we wouldn’t even know He’d gone.'”
The megachurches of today boast of excellent attendance, tithes that are given, and structures built. Many run like a well-oiled machine. Yet, where is the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence with souls saved, converts baptized, discipled, and taught to serve using their gifts and talents for God?
Where are the youth of today surrendering to fill the pulpits, go to the mission fields and replace those whose lives are near unable to go on?
Where are the tears of the saints, weeping over their country’s sins before a holy God?
Where are the burning hearts desiring only God?
Where are the all-night prayer meetings for the state of our countries?
Where are those confrontational with the gospel to do their part to give the gospel to every creature?
Where is the sacrificial giving to send missionaries to countries who’ve never heard the gospel message?
We boast of our music, our worship, and our beautiful buildings. Paul’s words here in Philippians brought me back down to earth. We say we feel the power and presence of God in our church. What evidence can we provide to back up our claims?
Are souls being saved daily, weekly, or regularly?
Are the waters of baptism stirred, or do we have to remove the flower pots, dust and fill it with water first?
Are we prepared for a seeking soul who would come forward asking to be saved?
Can we walk with the backslidden to help restore them to God?
In all of Paul’s letters, he clearly points to God’s working in and through him. The main admonition in Philippians is for us to do the same.
We all try to balance our relationship with God with all of our other roles and responsibilities. Family, work, community, and church all cry out for our time. Usually, the one who screams that loudest gets the majority of our time.
Do not pass by God heading into your day. Let us take the needed and necessary time to prep for what only God knows lies ahead.