A friend/mentor of mine picks a verse each year to be the “theme verse” for that year. After hearing a sermon last Sunday on Philippians chapter 3, I decided my theme verses for 2015 would be Philippians 3:7-8:
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. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”
In one version I read, the word “gains” was translated “assets” and the word “loss” was translated “liabilities.” When I think of the assets I have in my life, I think of my family and friends, my health, and my possessions. In general terms, I think of these assets as blessings to be thankful for, not liabilities. So how can I consider these blessings to be, as Paul describes, garbage?
We don’t have a garbage collection system in the city we live in. The garbage piles up next to the road in various places and eventually is burned or scraped up when it encroaches on the road too much. The piles are unpleasant to look at and smell. I already struggle with giving gratitude to God for my many blessings. How could I possibly equate them to these piles of rubbish?
The key to the verse is not that my “gains” are garbage, but that they are garbage in comparison to knowing Christ. Not knowing about Christ, but knowing Him. Are my blessings actually liabilities that preoccupy me and keep me from knowing Christ? Am I settling for earthly treasure and missing out on knowing the glory of my Savior? As I consider my gains in 2015 and what I am doing to know Christ more, these verses will definitely help me find my priorities!