"Loss and Gain"
"What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ" (Philippians 3:7-8).
Loss was gain for the Apostle Paul, as it is for all born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. It doesn't feel that way, however. Doubtless, Paul felt the pain of the lash as he lost the skin on his back when flogged. He knew the sorrow of lost freedom while in prison. His heart ached for lost family members and former friends who rejected the Apostle because they rejected the Christ in whom he trusted. "The loss of all things," while paving the way for eternally greater gains, nevertheless hurt Paul. Moreover, no less than the Lord Jesus sorrowed greatly at the prospect of that which He would lose on the cross, even as He embraced "the joy that was set before Him" (Matthew 26:38; Hebrews 12:2). Thus, in experiences of loss for Christ's sake, we must often trust God for His promised gains while much in our emotional and physical responses seems to flow against the current of our chosen confidence.
We must embrace Paul's primary position regarding the issue of gain and loss. Our brother determined to believe, in response to God's Truth, that everything is loss when compared to "the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." Any gain that hinders such knowledge is actually loss. Any loss that furthers such knowledge is actually gain. This is reality. This is truth. Again, however, it will not presently feel as if such is the case. We must therefore build an altar of doctrine and devotion in our hearts. Thereupon we sacrifice any notion that contradicts the supremacy of the Lord Jesus as the life, joy, and peace of our hearts. We choose to believe that the knowledge of Him is gain, even amid the greatest loss. We will need to often revisit the altar to remember and reaffirm our determination of "Thou art my God… Thou art my hope… Thou art my help… Thou art my portion… Thou art my trust… Thou art my help and my deliverer" (Psalm 118:28; 71:5; 40:17; 119:57; 70:5). We could lose everything, but if Christ remains, we will have lost nothing. He is the Life of our lives, the joy of our joys, the fulfillment of our hearts, and Holy One for whom are hearts were made and redeemed. Having Him, we have all, even in those times when loss tears our flesh and rends our soul.
"God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever."
"Thou art my portion, O Lord."
Weekly Memory Verse
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.