Trophies may make you feel good, but what are they worth at a garage sale?
When I was younger…at one time I was younger! I spent all my life basically landlocked, but now I had moved to Hawaii. One of the things that
I learned to do that I loved was to body surf. The learning curve was difficult and often painful. Having only encountered very small waves and almost nonexistent undertow of the East Coast, Waimea Bay and Sandy Beach were rude awakenings! The key is to “KNOW” what you’re doing. This does not mean to have the knowledge of how to swim and what is water. It means to understand the fullness of what body surfing is…Becoming one with the water, conforming to its movement and speed. If you under shoot the wave you will miss it. If you out swim the wave…Depending where you are; if at Waimea the wave can hold on the bottom of the sea for quite some time; if at Sandy Beach you can literally freefall and face plant in the sand…And even break your neck. Before we can really appreciate something we need to “know” it.
As Paul has used himself as an example of why not to have confidence in the flesh, he is now going to exhort us to really...
“know” Christ...the whole picture, not just the enjoyable part.
8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,
Paul begins by reiterating that all his fleshly accomplishments...and even more than that... “All things”, that means everything, not just his religiosities are a waste when it comes to what he possesses now. He is weighing all of that in comparison to the “surpassing value” of “knowing” Christ. “Surpassing,” means – that which is best, most important. Paul uses the word “loss” several times in these verses. We established that it communicates the concept of something being a detriment, but we also need to see that in reality Paul really did lose all that he had, as far as position in society, respect of peers and friends, material wealth, and as he was writing this Epistle…his freedom. Now Paul gives us his perspective on all that he has lost. “Rubbish!” this is a strong word in the original and leaves no doubt as to Paul’s new value system.
Rubbish: σκύβαλον skúbalon; something thrown to the dogs, which is from kusí, dog, and bállō, to cast. That which is thrown to the dogs, dregs, refuse, what is thrown away as worthless. Spoken of the refuse of grain, chaff, or of a table, of slaughtered animals, of dung, and figuratively of the filth of the mind. In the NT, meaning refuse, things that are worthless
Paul does not mince words concerning his heart in this matter. EVERYTHING is worth NOTHING in comparison to knowing Christ!
I have to stop here, because this passage demands a heart check! We read something like this and religiously it sounds so right…spiritually we know it is true…but in reality do we really believe it? If we do, it should show that in the way we live and in what matters most to us. I am a sinner and I have this struggle inside myself…I know whatever is of Christ is worth far more than anything that is of this world, yet my flesh at times craves what the world offers. I hate that, but it is the reality. What can we do to aid us in this battle? There are some things that I have found that keep me pursuing the mindset that Paul expresses here. It’s not a pill you take; it is not works on your part…yet it will require REAL sweat on your part. It’s called Yielding – allowing His strength to become your strength. You cannot “feel” your way here, this must become a truth that you believe in so much that when your sinful flesh tries to sway your emotions to taste sin…your mind & will take the applied knowledge (wisdom) you have before you and you give way to that truth, instead of giving way to that sinful drive. This is what I found aids in that yielding:
First: Constant communication between you and God; talk to Him all the time, throughout the day, while driving, while walking, during lunch break, while brushing your teeth, in the shower…everywhere. Living actively with Him keeps your mind alert to His presence.
Second: Meditating on Scriptures. Read the Word, yes. BUT each day take a verse or two and keep them before you. Write them on a piece of paper and carry it with you and read it 10-20 times in a day. I have a reminder on my iPhone that sends me the same scripture throughout the day. Each time it beeps I reread the Scripture. Call it your “text” from God! This fills your mind with His Word, which the flesh hates! It is not called the “Sword of the Spirit” for nothing. It can cut away the chains that sin is trying to attach to your flesh.
Third: Meditate on the truth of what Paul stated. Let me give you some examples.
* Why settle for the world’s love, which is conditional, when Christ’s love is unconditional?
* Why settle for the world’s success, which is based on you topping everyone else, when God’s idea of success is just being faithful to Him?
* Why run the world’s race, which demands you beat everyone else, when God’s race is for you alone and He just wants you to finish?
* Why strive for this world’s riches, which can change with just an election and is always temporary, when you can participate with God in producing His riches in you, which is Character fruit and is eternal, and leave the supply of the temporal stuff to Him?
* Why seek after the world’s pleasures, which are always built on self satisfaction and at best are momentary in delight – winning a “big” game – and at worst destroy you and others – drugs, illicit sex, etc. – when you can allow God to show you the pleasure He intended for all aspects of life and begin to move away from a life based on “happiness” (passing emotions) onto a life based on joy, peace and contentment?
I could go on, but hopefully you get the point. Take the time to evaluate what the world is offering and then compare that to what God is offering. If this becomes a habit, your mind & will can control your emotions and guide them to enjoy gaining Christ. Your body and emotions are great slaves…but terrible masters!
 Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.