The following was submitted by an OPEN worker in the Arab world.
Paul tells the Philippians, For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh. Philippians 3:3
Paul points out the differences between the circumcision (us) and the uncircumcision (non-believers) is 3-fold:
1) We worship by the Spirit of God. For example, Jesus tells the woman at the well that she worships what she does not know but a day is coming when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.
2) We glory in Christ Jesus instead of the things of this world.
3) We put no confidence in the flesh, but instead put our confidence in the righteousness of Christ that depends on faith (v.9)
One of the three differences between us and the world is that we glory in Christ Jesus. Paul goes on to say that he counts all things as loss, including his earthly credentials (v.4-11). It got me thinking: what are the things that I glory in? Unfortunately, it’s not only Christ Jesus that I glory in. He has me in a process of learning, painful as it is, to count all things as loss and glory only to Himself. In Galatians 6:14 Paul chases this idea with, But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Isn’t that astonishing? May boasting in anything save Christ alone be far from us as well! I want to call us to a greater holiness here. As B4T’ers, many of us secretly glory in our business. I sometimes hear a pride in the voices of B4T’ers that we are working with our own hands and not living only off of what other people give. We could slip into a state of pride that our business is going well. We can forget to count as loss all that we have given up to get this far. These are traps. Let us not fall in them.
I struggle to count my career as loss. I struggle to not overthink about all that I could have back home. Do you see what I’m doing here? When I let my affections stir for these things I’m failing to count them as loss. I’m feeling as though I have sacrificed something to be here doing what I’m doing. This is a real problem because in these moments, I’m miscalculating the tradeoff I made. These things are rubbish, says Paul. These things are worthless in comparison to what I got.
In the parable of the treasure in Matthew 13:44, Jesus has this to say: The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and buried. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
The treasure we have in Christ is so infinitely valuable that the man sold everything to go and buy that field – and he did it with joy. He didn’t do it grumbling; he didn’t do it with the pressure of his local church behind him. He didn’t say, “Oh, okay, Lord I will do it.” In his joy he sold everything to get ahold of this.
We have this same treasure in Jesus. Let our businesses, let all the things we left behind, let money and fame, let approval, let control and power all be counted as loss for the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and being known by Him.
What do you need to count as loss today?