“...that I may gain Christ and be found in him...”—Philippians 3:8-9, NIV1984

Monday, June 11, 2012

Finding Righteousness and Significance

8 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, 9 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,...—Philippians 3:8-9, NASB
This means that our identity as followers of Jesus should be in Jesus. Period. That's the goal. One day this should be true of me (and you if you trusted in Christ for salvation): If you’re looking for me, don’t look for a person with credentials that the world values. Don’t look for a person who is highly esteemed by the world. Don’t look for a person who is wealthy and extravagant. Don’t look for a person who is self-righteous. Look for a lowly, humble servant. Look for a wise person who is not looking for recognition or fame. Look for a person who lovingly sacrifices the pleasures of the world for the sake of helping people know Jesus Christ. Look for a person who is loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, gentle, faithful, and self-controlled.

Even though Paul (the writer of this book), counted his former life of trying to obey the Law as loss, He still valued righteousness. God values righteousness, but it is not achieved through trying to adhere to the Law. It is only achieved on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ. There is no other way for a human with a sinful nature to be righteous. We can’t trust in ourselves to live outwardly righteously, because even if we could do that perfectly, inwardly we would still have evil desires, and God looks at the heart (see 1 Sam. 16:7).

Therefore, there is no other solution to be righteous by God’s judgment except to be considered righteous because of trusting in Jesus, that he accomplished for us in His flesh what we could not—living inwardly and outwardly righteous and then voluntarily justifying our sins by dying on the cross and rising again so that God did not have to deny neither His love for us nor His justice that our sins earned for us. Since God did that for us, our response is to Count everything else loss compared to surpassing value of knowing Christ. What do you find your identity and value in? What makes your life significant? Many people look to sports, exercise, clothing, appearance, wealth, career, family, children, a romantic relationship, the feeling of usefulness to others, what others think, friendships, and many other things to give them a sense of significance and worth. Looking to these things for significance and self-worth at best will lead to disappointment and depression, because these things eventually fail us and don't satisfy our spiritual needs. At worst, finding significance in any worldly thing leads to a life of detrimental devotion to false gods. Now is the time to examine yourself and ask the tough questions. Ask others what they think you highly value. Leave it behind and pursue a deeper relationship with the Creator and Savior.