We may share in His sufferings, but we will also share in His resurrection!
As I read Philippians 3:7-11, it made me reflect on the gains and losses I’ve had in my life and how they affected who I am. Did they make me more like Jesus? Did they bring me closer to Him? Could I truly say what Paul is saying in these verses? Could I say that my gains, the things I have worked for and achieved, mean nothing compared to what I’ve gained in Christ?
Think about some of the accolades or achievements you’ve had, or currently have in your life. Maybe it’s an award or special medal. Maybe a degree, a promotion, or a title. Perhaps you won State Championship in your sport when you were in high school. Maybe you were Valedictorian of your graduating class. My senior year in high school I was was named Outstanding Senior in Home Economics! Hey… at the time I thought that was pretty cool! What about our possessions? Our homes, cars, boats, whatever it may be. Paul tells us that none of these things hold a candle to knowing Jesus!
What about losses? We’ve all had some losses in our lives. I know I have. I’ve lost relationships, loved ones, jobs. I’ve lost my health and my hair to cancer. Sometimes it’s hard to see the gains that come through these losses, especially in the midst of the pain of losing them. But I can now see the Christ-gains in each of my losses. Without a doubt, I can look back and see the moments that I knew Jesus was right there by my side. I can attest to the “peace of God, which transcends all understanding” that Paul talks about later in Philippians. I’ve experienced true joy, even through hardship. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I enjoyed going through these things, but my faith and my relationship with Jesus has grown stronger through each loss.
What Paul is saying in Phillipians 3:7-11 is that knowing Jesus is so much better than any achievement or award that we could receive. And that all of our losses are but “garbage” compared to the righteousness we have through Christ. I know, that sounds harsh. Losses are hard. Really hard. And some may be even harder than others, but oh how sweet the promise of new life in Jesus! Romans 6:4-5 says, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we will certainly also be united with Him in a resurrection like His.”
The good news is… When we have faith in Jesus, we are made righteous and holy through Him. We may share in His sufferings, but we will also share in His resurrection! There is hope, peace, joy, and love to be found through our losses. If we look, we will see that Jesus is right there with us. And He is so much better than anything we can hope for in this world!