Summary: Some people pursue a career, some people pursue an education, some people pursue a position or status, some pursue fame, some riches, house and lot, car, some a boyfriend or girlfriend. What are YOU pursuing?
Some people pursue a career, some pursue an education, others pursue a position, power, or status; some pursue fame or riches, others a house or car; still others a business, some a boyfriend or girlfriend, and others a cellphone.
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 had good cause to boast
Paul here, in verse 2 is referring to Judaizers who he called “dogs,” “evil workers,” and the “concision.” These people boasted in the law and their obedience (self-righteousness), and this false teaching had entered into the church at Philippi.
Paul reminded the Philippians in verse 3 that believers have no confidence in the flesh, and that our confidence is in Christ’s finished work.
Nevertheless, though these people were boasting in their good works and accomplishments, Paul had more cause to boast . . . And if salvation were based on good works – he was in there!
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.
Circumcised the eighth day… A religious rite that can be compared to baptism, communion, or church membership among us today.
Of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews… For us today, it might be having a good background, a good family name, graduated from Yale, Harvard, M.I.T., Oxford, etc.
As touching the law, a Pharisee… This was cause for boast to a Jew in those days: a good position, doctor, lawyer, actor/actress, professional athlete, priest, or Sunday school teacher today.
Concerning zeal, persecuting the church… In our time for example it might be boasting about being a faithful attender, religious, wearing a cross, repeating the Model Prayer 10 times a day, praying 3 hours a day, reading your Bible 2 hours a day and 10 chapters.
Touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless… Leading a “good” life, obeying the ten commandments, not making trouble, being a nice person, doing good things for people, not going to nightclubs or other “sinful” places in our times.
Paul had good cause to boast in his day, and so may you, but Paul said in verse 7,
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Gain to me… those things which he could boast in, that made him look good to the people around him, that made him look “worthy” of the praise of men or heaven.
[He] counted loss for Christ… He saw them as negative and not worth boasting about. When God gives us a right perspective, we realize that they are in truth unhelpful, of no eternal value, and cause for boasting, whether in pursuit of them or promoting them to others. They are potential causes for distancing ourselves from Christ!
Paul had attitude adjustment on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3). At the time, he had much cause to boast, and was going to persecute Christians whom he thought were in error, when he had His perspective changed. There was a change in his heart and mind about these things when the Lord appeared to him, and he fell on his face in humility and submission. Paul realized, that in the end, God is no respecter of persons, and the only Person that mattered was not himself, but Jesus Christ.
Of course, we live in this world, but we do not have to be like those who are of it.
Of course, we need to earn a living and support our families or ourselves, but we do not have to give them our primary focus.
Of course, we need material things, but we do not have to put them first.
The Lord tells us to put Him first and He’ll take care of the rest (Matthew 6:33).
The Lord tells us that we live by the Word of God, not bread alone (Matthew 4:4).
The Lord tells us to look unto Jesus (Hebrews 12:2; put Him in our forefront).
The Lord tells us to come out from among them, and not behave as the lost (2 Corinthians 6:17).
Paul compared all his accomplishments and reasons for boasting as a write off (valueless) in comparison to pursuing Christ in verse 8. He considered them as waste. The only thing that mattered to Paul was Christ. As a matter of fact, Paul counted all these things as excrement when compared to the excellency of the knowledge Christ.