It’s One of the Most Dangerous Lies in the Christian World.
It’s dangerous to your faith. It can cripple you because you will always chase the smoke but never find the fire.
What is one of the most dangerous lies in the Christian world?
Following Jesus causes you to possess more health, money, or happiness.
It’s not that those things don’t sometimes happen, but the danger lies in us counting on God as a guarantee of these things. The Prophets and Apostles of the Scriptures actually tell us it’s normal for these things to not happen!
The Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 3:7-11
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 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 9 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. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:7-11, NIV
Having just spoken about his extreme qualifications, Paul finishes the thought we examined last week: all of those Earthly qualifications for the Lord’s pleasure in him were worthless compared to the call of Christ.
“The sake of Christ” is Paul’s driving force now. Whatever he considered to be of value before Jesus found him, he disregards as “garbage” compared to knowing Jesus. Those religious actions done for others to notice were liabilities against him. Instead, when he lost himself was when Paul truly found life and a life he wanted to live.
Compared to the values he gives in Philippians 3:4-6, these are the Apostle’s real values. These are the qualities he puts his stock in. These are the things that really, truly, deeply matter to Paul. It’s not enough to think good thoughts about God (right theology); Paul wanted to experience the goodness of God.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good,” we read in Psalm 34:8, “blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.” This is Paul’s declaration!
Paul wasn’t using Jesus to get rich, noticed, named, applauded, or regarded. Paul was dying to himself so he would know the life-transforming power that raised Jesus from the dead.
When Paul lost his religion, he gained a relationship with Jesus.
It is here the words of missionary Jim Elliot come to mind: “He is no fool to give what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
Is that how you approach your discipleship in Jesus?
Are you willing to lose the veneer of religion in order gain the life Jesus created you for?
Would you rather learn more about Who Jesus is by experiencing Him?
Paul was not healthy, wealthy, or well off. Yet, he was phenomenally blessed by God. He brought so many people to Jesus in his lifetime and a countless multitude has come to faith in Jesus because of his inspired writings.
Although the religious people of his day (both Jewish and Christian) might have thought Paul lost too much when he gave it all up for Jesus, he was no fool to give what he could not keep in order to gain what he could not lose.
Are we willing to do that? Is churchianity our religion? Do we just want to look the part of a Christian, or do we truly desire to be “little Christs”?
Can you and I truly say we’d rather know Jesus and experience Him more than gain possessions?
Let’s turn our hearts and minds towards that question this week as we seek to know Him more by concerning ourselves about “me” less.
This is true prosperity: gaining the wealth of the investment earned by spending it all on Jesus.