I want to know Christ, yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining the resurrection from the dead.
What is the most valuable thing you own?
You can measure value is several different ways. You might answer that the thing you value the most is the relationship you have with your spouse or perhaps your children. You might think of something that has sentimental value to you: something owned by a parent or grandparent. One could also think purely monetarily and identify the thing that would cost the most money to replace. Whatever the case, we all have something we would say is “valuable.”
How valuable is your relationship with Jesus?
Most of us would probably say very valuable, but at times, that dedication can be tested, can it not? We live in a culture that encourages the very things that are contrary to a life of faith. What your friends and co-workers define as valuable often runs head-on into the attitudes and behaviors Jesus instructs his followers to have.
Paul understands that tension. In the verses just prior to the section we are reading today, he lists the things the people around him would find as valuable (Philippians 3.4-6). Think of it as a Who’s Who list of being a good Jew. By all accounts and standards, Paul should be an All-Star.
Notice his reaction to these things, however. He considers them garbage. Everything the world, society, the people around him thinks is valuable … Paul rejects in no uncertain terms. Speaking of uncertain terms, the word Paul uses that the NIV translates “garbage,” is describing the sewer that is thrown outside the city gates. Paul is not holding back here.
Paul instead claims the righteousness that he has and that Jesus demonstrates, is the thing he finds most valuable. What is most valuable to Paul? It is knowing Christ and being like him, even if it means suffering.
It is a process. It does not come naturally—how can it when the world is screaming for you to value just the opposite—nor does it happen instantly. But we consistently move forward, seeking that which Christ gave us.
What is the thing you consider most valuable?
•If we are people who exalt God and worship him, we need to also be people who value justice. In what ways can you demonstrate God’s justice to others around you this week?
•What do you think it would have been like to go up on the mountain to receive God’s law? How do you think you would have felt coming into the presence of God’s glory and how do you think that would have changed how you lived your life from that point forward?
•What things do you have in your life that make it difficult for you to value Christ above everything else? How can you find ways to steadily move forward to Christ, instead of being caught up in the apparent value of these things?
•If you had been Peter on the mountain when Jesus was transfigured, how do you think you would have reacted to what was happening around you? In what ways are we casual or flippant about the glory of God?
•How can our lives better demonstrate God’s glory and our desire to place him above all other things?