Journey to Jerusalem Day 37, Philippians 3:7-11
7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Some may recall advice once urged on those who sought highly effective living: “put first things first.” Beguilingly simple, this “habit” would have us focus on, well, first things. Do so, and we are promised a “more balanced existence.”
Of course, the trick is knowing what to put first, something that is harder to figure out than you might think. For all are born dumb to the right first thing, which requires all who desire effective living to search about for it. Their accounts of the search are as numerous as those who can write about it.
This dumbness results in a collection of a lot of first-thing facsimiles as we grope for effective living. Each one seemed so good at the start, and so well attested! But, with time, these impostors lead us to great pits of ineffective living that can form us into cynics if we aren’t careful.
Somehow, we stay the course, often holding even tighter onto the next first thing. The writer of today’s scripture knew that, for he carried a facsimile with him when the real one appeared to him.
Dear reader, if you have journeyed with us this far, you have either found the true first thing or you are close. Here’s the final yard if you sense a pit up ahead: the first thing of effective human existence is not a thing—it’s a person.
And once you find this Person, all the other contenders truly become rubbish. For all the other first things, the myriad of impostors, they are all moving to dust as will we if we keep on believing in them.
But this Person, this true first thing of effective living, He isn’t heading toward dust. He’s headed to eternity.
Want to come along?
Lord Jesus, our Savior and our God, lead us to eternal life! Amen.