The Loss of All Things for the Sake of Gaining Others
“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead,” Philippians 3:7-11.
The entire life of knowing Christ involves a process of letting go of things.
In the natural, one learns soon enough about the reality of letting go of children as they leave the nest. A person who has grown accustomed to certain friendships may well soon enough, see that they now have nothing in common with them.
Perhaps even a wife or a husband has left you, and now you are all alone. Now much of your stability and the foundation of your life seems like it is tottering. You may well now be forced to find the only prop that can hold you up.
Some have studied at universities and have become quite skilled and proficient at knowing their craft, or field of study. Perhaps you have even received various degrees of study in physics, British Literature, science, or the arts.
Maybe you have even been a professor or taught these various subjects, and for years you grew accustomed to the security of a regular paycheck, and the routine of your job. But somehow because of circumstances, now your job has ended, and your livelihood is gone from these things.
Even in the loss of these things, one can gain greater things that are of a more surpassing value. The intimacy and knowledge that one can gain from knowing the true and living Christ is like the pearl that one would find in a field. Everything else pales in comparison to this relationship.
The apostle Paul came to a realization of this finally in his life. For we read about his life before he met Christ on the road to Damascus:
“I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day,” Acts. 22:3.
He grew up in the traditions of the Pharisees, and followed their laws, and was a persecutor of Christians, and because of his zeal in doing this, many were killed.
“Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee,” Philippians 3:5.
“And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles,” Acts. 8:1.
But after his road to Damascus incident, we see a different man; a changed man. We see someone whose zeal for killing Christians is now transposed into one of becoming like them.
But the process continues, and each and every day, Paul finds out that he must shed the skin of his previous life, and take on the form of dying from his old nature.
Even his great learning and scholarly attributes now must become less important to him. All of this becomes like rubbish to the unsurpassing knowledge of knowing Christ.
If one has ever watched as a snake sheds its skin, the old layers that had been carried for some time, now is slowly slithered away behind. A caterpillar becomes a chrysalis, and it takes on the form of its surroundings. But finally, a butterfly emerges and leaves the shell of its old life behind.
Such is the process of letting go of the things that hold us in this life. One by one, each layer is peeled back, as another day, month and year evolves. Oftentimes it’s a painful process, but the end result will see a form as beautiful and free as the butterfly itself.
~ Stephen Hanson
Stephen Hanson of In His Truth Ministries came to the LORD is a special way in 1975 and has prophesied regularly since. In these end-time birthing pangs we are reminded that judgment must first begin with the household of God. Will we be prepared and ready?