Do you have a treasured possession that means more to you than anything else you own? Is there anything you’d be willing to give it up for? I did. It was a brown dog, a stuffed animal, with white ears, plastic eyes, and a hard nose. I called him Rusty. He’s still at my parents’ house and my kids sometimes find comfort in him when they are over there visiting. Once upon a time I wouldn’t have traded anything for Rusty. He was my faithful companion, my security blanket, and my trusty battle hammer (yes, you read that right) all rolled into one. Needless to say, there wasn’t anything anyone could have given me that I would have given up for Rusty.
Nowadays for me it’s not so much about things as about people. I love my children and my wife. I wouldn’t give them up so easily, either. Only Christ wins out compared to them. But that’s because I know that ultimately, they are a gift from Him. And that my love for Him should be far and above my love for them. If it’s not, then I cannot be the father and husband they deserve. They deserve one who puts Christ first and is so passionate about Him that all other love should look like hate. But as I look around, I see folks who place extreme value in cars, in homes, in jobs, in sports teams, in collectibles, and in numerous other things that aren’t God. And I realize that once upon a time, I was the same way, especially when it came to Rusty.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. – Philippians 3:7-11, NIV
What do we consider of great value other than Christ? Do we truly consider it loss and rubbish in comparison? That’s the question we need to ask ourselves for everything we have that we consider valuable in our lives. Is it worth more than the Savior? I know we can consider this in our minds and say, “No,” but the real answer is found in our hearts. That’s where we have to look. If there is anything there that is more important to us than Jesus, then we have a serious problem. We have an idol that needs to either be relegated to its proper place or gotten rid of altogether. When we start taking such an inventory we might be surprised at what we find. We might determine that things that we didn’t think were problems really are. And then we are faced with a decision. The right answer is to choose Christ, but that’s not always so easily.
But there is a bright side to all of this. From Christ there is a righteousness that surpasses anything we could have ever obtained on our own. And this righteousness is of infinite worth because it allows us to enter His Kingdom. We didn’t earn that righteousness, but it has been appropriated to us by the Savior of whom we have realized is first and foremost in our lives. So what we’re saying is we’re trading in whatever it is that is of less worth than our Savior for something that is priceless and beyond any measure. Because that’s the trade that God offers us. That’s the trade Paul realized. When we look at it like that, it’s the best deal we’ll ever find.