Read Philippians 3:1-21
In these post-Easter days, we are considering what it looks like to follow Christ. Certainly, the apostle Paul provides for us a great model of following. In this passage, not only does he tell his own story, but he also invites us as readers to “join together in following my example.”
So what were some of the essentials for following that Paul wanted to pass along?
- Boast in Christ…not in the flesh. Never lose sight of the fact that the greatest thing about you is not what you have done. Instead it is that which has been done for you. Your resume of accomplishments is of no significance in giving you eternal standing with God. I am sure you noted that Paul had quite an impressive list of things that must have been impressive to others in his day. But did you see what he concluded? Gains were losses in comparison with the surpassing value of knowing Christ. He even went so far as to say that gains were like garbage in comparison with gaining Christ. The great hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” expresses this truth well:
“Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.”
- Yearn to know Christ…both resurrection power and crucifixion suffering. The resurrection power sounds pretty inviting. We have that power and have been raised up with Him (Eph. 2:4-6). That power is at our disposal in life and ministry (Eph. 1:19-21). Are you growing to know that more and more?
But Paul also yearned to become a participant in the sufferings of Christ. That idea is less inviting.The average one of us doesn’t long for pain and suffering. Why yearn for that? Is it possible that we get to know Christ in a different way when we are in the depth of the valley? Is it possible that our appreciation for His suffering grows in adversity? Are you growing to know Christ through suffering?
As you, then, seek to grow in following Christ, you will want to make Him your greatest boast and knowing Him your greatest aspiration.