How do you normally introduce yourself, or how do we introduce new people in our midst? Often we begin with our name and title, followed by our function or position, together with the company or organization we represent. “This is Dr. (so-and-so), CEO of ABC company.” Throughout the ages, societies and mankind tend to focus on status and stature, rather than substance or character. This was true in Paul the Apostle’s time as well. In the passage (Phil. 3) for today, he begins by listing his pedigree heritage, achievements and accolades (vv. 5-6). But in an interesting twist, he goes on to consider them as loss or rubbish, in contrast to something, or someone, far superior - that is, to know, to gain, and to be found in Christ.
Firstly, he counts everything in his life a loss for Christ’s sake, in his own words, compared to “the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” This knowledge of Christ extends much further than just mere head knowledge or information about someone. It describes an intimate, active and growing relationship with Jesus, cultivated through walking with Him in abiding trust and surrendered obedience.
Secondly, he considers everything else rubbish, that he may gain Christ, from the Greek word kerdaino (from the noun kerdos) which means “gain, advantage, profit.” It is the same word Paul uses earlier when he says, “To live is Christ and to die is gain." (Phil. 1:21) Jesus also uses the same word when he laments, "What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” (Matt. 16:26) and when he describes servants in the parable of the talents, who had two and five talents, and said to have been entrusted, and eventually “gained” more talents.
Thirdly, Paul’s desire is to be found in him. As the words of “Amazing Grace” goes, “I once was lost but now am found,” all of us need to find and be found in Jesus. This does not mean we recite a magic formula or that by simply saying the sinner’s prayer, that we are saved. Jesus warns, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21) This begins by abiding in Christ, for apart from Him, we can do nothing (Jn. 15:5). It then moves to faithful commitment to serving His kingdom purposes.
As we continue down this journey of discipleship, my prayer for us as Christians and as a church, is that we will grow deeper in love and relationship with Jesus, and commit our lives to know, to gain and to be found in Christ.