As the daily devotional series has focused on Paul I have come to admire the single-mindedness of his devotion to Christ. In this familiar passage he outlines why he of all Jews would be proud of his accomplishments; his circumcision, his tribe, his religious training.
This section (verses 4-6) impacted me in a new way this week. For one thing I hadn’t realized that Paul is saying for his day these were big accomplishments. What if we got elected to office or became famous by singing on American Idol (I have never seen the show but it seems major, if it’s still on)? . What if we won an Olympic event? Paul would say, it wouldn’t matter compared to the import of knowing Christ.
What if other things that bring me joy were compared to my joy at knowing Christ? How about being with a friend, or seeing the beautiful sights in the garden? I feel happy when I see the gold sun go down behind the trees outside the living room window, or see the cat asleep with her paws in the air, or read literature so good it makes me cry; pages and phrases of which I remember years later. How about walking in the woods or seeing the little brown birds in the grocery store parking lot? So many things in this life bring joy. Paul would say, it’s all a loss compared to “the greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (v. 8). If I think of the greatest thing in this life, Jesus is greater.
Paul tries so hard in this passage to explain this to us, we who have poor spiritual eyesight. This week I’ll try to look with new eyes.