Some loss in this life is great gain. When we use a disciplined approach to diet and exercise to lose those extra pounds we put on over the holidays, our loss is gain. When we lose the debt we have incurred from having too much month left at the end of the money, our loss is gain. But there is an even greater and far more glorious gain from our loss, as outlined by Paul in his letter to the Philippians.
Whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. (Philippians 3:7-9)
Paul is telling us that loss is indeed gain when we gain more of Jesus by losing everything smaller than Him. In his newly released book, Jesus +Nothing = Everything, my beloved friend and pastor, Tullian Tchividjian, sheds light on Paul’s great gain through loss.
Paul says a lot in those verses. But his main point is that no social or religious achievement, no educational success, no position, no familial heritage, no amount of societal approval is worth holding onto and building your life on, compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus, for whose sake it’s worth losing all that you have. Paul considered his “everything” nothing in comparison to the everything of Jesus. For Paul, Jesus plus nothing equals everything; everything minus Jesus equals nothing. That’s why, for Paul, giving up everything for Christ was nothing.
Here is a challenging question for you and for me: “Am I, like the apostle Paul, willing to give up everything for Jesus?” A “YES” answer will only be found in a life that has been resurrected and rooted in the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Only the Gospel can free us from the need for human approval and the applause of man. Only the Gospel can free us from the need to attempt to broker God’s favor and earn His love. Only the Gospel can free us to give up everything that really doesn’t matter for the only One who truly does matter: His name is Jesus Christ. When the grace of the Gospel grips our hearts, we find that we no longer want the “wants” of life that somehow morphed into “needs.”
When Jesus is our everything, we begin expanding the borders of our lives beyond the borders of our lives. We begin investing our lives in the only One who truly matters and who will live on forever. When Jesus is our everything, we begin living for more than ourselves—our wants, our desires, our agendas, and our acclaim—and instead begin living for Jesus and His wants, His desires, His agenda, and His acclaim.
We must remember that everything in the universe, including you and me, was designed by God to have Jesus at the center.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
God the Father never intended his precious Son to be pushed to the periphery of our lives—in any area! When we do this we are functionally living for ourselves. Jesus is to be at the center of our marriages. Jesus is to be at the center of our families. Jesus is to be at the center of our professions. Jesus is to be at the center of our hobbies. Jesus is to be at the center of our recreation. Jesus is to be at the center of everything because everything is to center on Jesus.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!