“If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”
Climbing the social and religious ladder was no longer Paul’s focus — he was glad to “lose” his earthly awards, accolades and achievements. He considered them rubbish. However, there’s a deeper, more serious reason he calls these things trash. Earthly accolades are dangerous. Social and religious props are downright deterrents to a fervent faith in his Savior. Paul will no longer allow himself to be defined by his earthly credentials; it’s why he considers everything — the whole package — a loss compared to knowing Jesus. For him, it’s Christ and Christ alone.
This speaks to me as a quadriplegic. I consider [a strong, sleek, athletic, and beautiful body] rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him. It’s not only that I have lost these things; I simply recognize they were — and can be — disincentives to an intimate, lively and needy dependence on the Lord Jesus.
When an easy and trouble-free life entices us to place confidence in the flesh, when comfort zones breed self-assurance, it’s high time we label these things rubbish. How highly do you value your appearance, background, abilities, and achievements? Do you lean on, cleave to, treasure, or secretly delight in them? Then you may be putting “confidence in the flesh.” Happily toss those earthly props today on the trash heap.
Jesus, You are my confidence! I invite Your Spirit to kick the props out from under me if I lean on my appearance, abilities, or achievements.