This story comes from 2009/2010 Alumni Emily Johnson. This post was originally written in May 2010. Emily served at Louisville Rescue Mission – a homeless rescue mission.
I once thought these things were valuable, but now consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him… I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!Philippians 3:7-11
This is a passage I’ve been meditating on for awhile now. If there’s one thing that God’s been teaching me and showing me lately, it’s been sacrifice. Life as a missionary – life as a follower of Christ – involves making sacrifices.
A FULLNESS OF FOLLOWING
I may say I’m willing to give up everything to fully follow Christ but when the moment comes to sacrifice, how do I respond?The fullness of Paul’s faith, trust, obedience, and love for His Savior is displayed in his letter to the Philippians. I don’t know about you, but it can be a challenge to live out these words. I may say I’m willing to give up everything to fully follow Christ but when the moment comes to sacrifice time away from my family or deny my fleshly desires for material possessions, how do I respond? In these moments, it can be difficult for me to have the same attitude as Paul does here in this passage. My actions don’t always match the words my heart longs to exclaim – that I am willing to discard EVERYTHING else in my life as garbage, for the sake of knowing and following Jesus Christ.
WHAT IS WORTH GIVING UP EVERYTHING?
Paul valued his relationship with Christ more than anything else.Paul valued his relationship with Christ more than anything else – more than money, success, achievements, other relationships. It was all “worthless” compared to his intimate relationship with Jesus. Paul sacrificed “everything else” to follow Christ and know Him intimately. He gave up EVERYTHING in order to pursue His Lord. He gave up his fleshly wants and desires. He gave up his luxuries. He gave up relationships with family and friends. He gave up EVERYTHING to whole-heartedly follow and know Christ. Paul denied himself to pursue Christ and placed ALL of his faith in Him so that he could know the resurrecting power of his Savior.
When I meditate on this passage, I’m taken aback by Paul’s words. Can I honestly say these same words? Can I say that I want to suffer with Christ so that I can experience His resurrecting power? Am I willing to give up everything else in my life to follow and pursue my relationship with Jesus?
Oh Lord, increase my faith. Increase my trust, obedience, and love for You. May I be willing to sacrifice because You gave the ultimate sacrifice. May I make sacrifices in order to grow in oneness with You. Amen.