S16P10 – Personal lessons from Paul: true confidence rests in the eternal

Phil. 3:4b-8a
If someone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.

Before coming to Christ, Paul lived and excelled in a world where spiritual status was conferred based on lineage and adherence to rules and rituals. In that world, Paul had every reason to boast in his qualifications. All the more reason for God to select him to use as an example for those absorbed in that world of the new spiritual qualification process Christ ushered in. This process rests not on the eligibility of man but that of his savior. It focuses not on the temporary but on the eternal.

Here, Paul has come to the realization that all the things he thought he knew and had accomplished were worth nothing when compared to what he gained through Jesus. No righteousness of man can save him. Only the righteousness of Christ can do that. No achievement or knowledge of ours can compare to the worth of knowing Christ and what He has done for us. What Jesus offers is eternal, but mankind and this world can offer only that which will one day pass away. Our hope lies only in that which does not wilt and wither. We do not gain eternity by clinging to and hoping in the temporary.

If we claim to follow Jesus Christ, our confidence should lie in him and the surpassing worth of knowing him as our Lord. We will recognize that the things which are not eternal pale in comparison. No object, achievement, diploma, trophy, lineage or office can benefit us beyond this lifetime on this earth. Father, instill in us the correct perspective on the things of this world, relying on only Jesus Christ for our confidence and security, confessing that knowing him as our Savior surpasses all else.