“…. I count all thing 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….” -Phil. 3.8
It is a rarity these days for men to come into a vital contact with the totality of this Pauline brand of abandonment to Jesus Christ. We are apt to talk up the qualities of our conferences, ministries, and events, but it is far too infrequently that we are touched by the kind of consuming vigor for Christ that was the hallmark of the apostle’s life and service. We are too easily distracted, too quickly satisfied, too prone to wandering, and we lack the mentality and grit that he expresses here in Philippians 3.
Even so, a holy passion after the Lord is not confined to Paul, Moses, Spurgeon, Wesley, or any other man. This concentrated heart-focus upon Him is the life-bread of the Church, for He is our great prize not only in the age to come, but in the here and now. We need desperately to identify and level that which pulls our gaze away from Him, and to contend vehemently for the great pursuit after a more profound love for God. Even ministry itself may be the hindering point.
Beware of any work for God which enables you to evade concentration on Him. A great many Christian workers worship their work. The one concern of a worker should be concentration on God, and this will mean that all the other margins of life, mental, moral and spiritual, are free with the freedom of a child, a worshipping child, not a wayward child.
…. There is no responsibility on you for the work; the only responsibility you have is to keep in living constant touch with God, and to see that you allow nothing to hinder your cooperation with Him. The freedom after sanctification is the freedom of a child, the things that used to keep the life pinned down are gone. But be careful to remember that you are freed for one thing only- to be absolutely devoted to your co-Worker.
…. God engineers everything; wherever He puts us our one great aim is to pour out a whole-hearted devotion to Him in that particular work.
(O. Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest; April 23rd selection)
The surpassing value is not in a platform for ministry, witnessing miraculous works, persuading men on doctrinal points, or even in finding joy and sanctification. Great delight issues from true abandonment, but the surpassing value is in knowing the Man Christ Jesus Himself. All else flows from that remarkable place; the place where we are enlarged in Him, drawing from His character, hearing His shepherding Voice, beholding His glorious face. Am I pursuing the treasures of this world? a name in ministry? a reputation before men? my own peace, prosperity and happiness? Or am I totally abandoned in my innermost parts to Jesus Christ?
Bryan Purtle is an author that carries a jealousy for historical revival, the salvation of Israel, and the recovery of apostolic proclamation and living through the revelation of Jesus Christ. Visit his website at thoughtsuponrising.com.
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