“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ… that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Phil. 3:7, 10-11).
Here, Paul tells us how he taps into the power of knowing Jesus and the power of his resurrection. He does it by counting any gain as loss for the sake of Christ, and by sharing in Christ’s suffering and death. In other words, Paul says that the way you tap into the power of knowing Christ and the power of His resurrection is by getting low. Get low. Humble yourself. Consider your gains loss, your suffering as sharing with Christ, becoming like him in his death. Get low.
There are ways for Christians to pretend to get low. Sometimes in the midst of craziness, you look at yourself and can’t imagine how it could get crazier. The kids cannot get more insane. Work cannot possibly get more intense. School cannot possibly get more difficult. My health could not get worse. You tell yourself that you are as low as you could possibly be. Sometimes you do this while you are subtly comparing yourself to others. Compared to her, I’m pretty low. Compared to him, I’m really low. Our family is a lot lower than their family. All our challenges, all our difficulties add up to a lot lower than theirs.
And because we value ourselves by ourselves, by how we feel, or by how we think we compare, we become frustrated, overwhelmed, anxious, and often despair. This is because you are not actually trying to get low. You’re trying to convince yourself that you are low enough. You are not trying to know Jesus and the power of His resurrection. You’re trying not to die. You’re trying to stay alive. You’re trying to keep your head above the water. But this means that you haven’t really counted everything loss for the sake of Christ. You’re worried that if you count it loss, if you count your children loss, if you count your education loss, if you count the organization of your house loss, your work loss, your yard loss, your neighbors loss, your ministry loss – you’re afraid you’ll lose it. You’re afraid Christ won’t notice.
This reveals what you are really doing, what you really believe. You believe that you are holding all of these things together. You believe that you are holding your children together, your house together, your work together, your sanity together, your friends together. But you aren’t. You are not God; you are not your Savior. And clearly, you have not actually gotten low at all. You are going insane. You are overwhelmed and stressing and getting frustrated and worried and angry, but you are not allowing those things to actually humble you. Ironically, the greater your problems, the more puffed up you are getting. You’re not thinking less of yourself; you’re actually thinking more of yourself. And the biblical name for this condition is pride. But Jesus died for that pride, the pride of looking at yourself in the mirror thinking that you must be very humble. There is no power in looking in the mirror at all the hard things you are carrying. There is only power in knowing Christ and His resurrection.
Because when you look to Christ, you see Christ crucified, Christ hung on a tree, you see Him there suffering and dying for you. You see Him there taking away your sin, taking away your shame, taking away your guilt. This is why there is power in considering all things loss for the sake of Christ. Because He holds all things. He sees all things. He knows all things. You cannot comprehend it all, but He can and He did. But in order to tap into that power, you must get low. You must become nothing and Christ must become everything. And the One who is Risen, the One who loves you, promises to raise you up.
In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.