Philippians 3:8 ESV: 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
Paul was a dignified man, a man of status. To have approved of and presided over the stoning of Stephen was indicative of the authority he possessed. Being a Hebrew of Hebrews and taught by one the most renown scholars, Paul earned a place in the Sanhedrin – the Jewish Supreme Court.
But as a result of his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus and subsequent appointment as an apostle of God, Paul “suffered the loss of all things”. All his achievements and laurels had to be reduced to nothing – as “rubbish”, worthless and useless both to man and to God. I wonder how many of us have experienced what Paul is describing here.
In this world we live in, where what you have in many ways determine who you are, it is hard to let go of any qualifications and achievements you have. They form the yardstick against which everyone is measured. For example, people want to know if you have a college degree? And if so, which college did you graduate from? It matters also of what stock (family lineage) you’ve come from? And so on. Unfortunately, the church has caught the ‘bug’ too. It has the Jesse spirit, looking at the outward appearance and external qualities mostly. It took the prophet Samuel to remind us that God looks at the heart. He chose David over his elder brothers and anointed him as the future king of Israel. David, up till that time, had not borne any significant responsibility in the family or served a day in the army. He was just a kid. Ironically, it was his child-like faith in God that pleased God the most.
Have you ever caught yourself thinking that you are qualified, perhaps more qualified than a certain person who is vying for the same job, because you have this degree and that experience? If you have, then you know it is time for you to count them as “rubbish”. Count all your past achievements and qualifications as dung. Do not stand on your past laurels. Seek the approval of God, and not men.