Treasuring Christ Above All Else

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: Phil. 3:7-8
Full Text: Prov. 16; Phil. 3
Photo of the Day: #TPFperspective

Colonial | Several years ago, my friend hosted a dinner party when her mother came in town from Tennessee. Her mom was a Colonial Dame – that is, a woman who is descended from an ancestor who lived in British-America. One guest asked, “What’s the difference between a Colonial Dame and a Daughter of the American Revolution?” In a strong, highbrow Southern accent, she kindly replied, “Oh, bless your heart. About 150 years, sweetie.”

Hebrew | Paul was the equivalent of a Colonial Dame. He was “circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews” [1]. In other words, he wasn’t an immigrant or a convert. His parents were Hebrews and their parents before them. They circumcised him according to the Abrahamic covenant and named him after the great king of Israel, Saul, who was also descended from Benjamin, one of only two sons of Jacob and his beautiful wife Rebekah.

Accolades | Yet Paul didn’t just live off the wealth and reputation of his family. He worked and achieved and performed. Thus, not only was he a Colonial Dame, he was also a Supreme Court Justice. He attended prestigious schools, excelled beyond his classmates, and received professional accolades. As he said, “as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless” [2].

Reversal | When Paul met Christ, however, everything flipped: “Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” [3]. Why was Christ more valuable to him than everything he had inherited and achieved? Because “being found in Christ” meant that he was saved from eternal death unto eternal life [4], “sharing in his sufferings” meant that he was being made more holy [5], and “attaining the resurrection from the dead” meant that he would rise again with Christ [6]. These are the immeasurable riches of knowing Christ – treasures that eclipse everything else and rewards that cannot be inherited, bought or achieved.

Prayer | Lord, We long to live like Paul – practically and daily living out the reality that we value knowing Christ more than anything we could ever have or achieve. Therefore, help us love the eternal riches of Christ and teach us how to treasure him above all else. Amen.

____________________________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

____________________________________

Footnotes

[1] Phil. 3:5 ESV  |  [2] Phil. 3:5-6 ESV  |  [3] Phil. 3:7-8 ESV  |  [4] Phil. 3:9 (justification)  |  [5] Phil. 3:10 (sanctification)  |  [6] Phil. 3:11 (glorification)

About these ads

3 Comments to “Treasuring Christ Above All Else”

  1. Hi Bethany. Thanks again for yet another insightful teaching. I have always been fascinated by the lives of King Saul and the apostle Paul–their similarities and their differences. But I never would have guessed that Paul (Saul) was actually named after the OT king. Can you explain this a little more? I mean, why on earth would anybody name their child after a Biblical villain–a man who sought to annihilate the one “after God’s own heart,” and ultimately died an enemy of God? (Unless, of course, they themselves were villains….) Thank you as usual for your time and consideration. God bless.

  2. Hey, Todd! Sorry for the delay and, as always, thanks for reading! Off the top of my head, I’m not sure that the first-century Jewish culture would have seen King Saul as a “villan.” First, the reference about David being a man after God’s own heart is a NT reference (Acts 13). Second, Saul was one of only three kings of the united kingdom and he was the first – Saul, David and Solomon – which was a huge honor. Third, remember all the lists of the kings of Judah and Israel (1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles)? There were tons of truly evil kings and – although sinful – Saul was not one of them. He was chosen by God and appointed as the first king of Israel. Finally, Saul – like David – was a sinner. I’m not sure what you mean by “enemy of God”, but I’m not sure we know definitely what happened with Saul in the very end in terms of his eternity. Again, this NOT an exegesis about King Saul himself; but rather a venture about what Saul / Paul’s parents were thinking when they named him. I just don’t think they saw King Saul in the terms that you may be seeing him … Just a thought … :) Disagree? Agree? Any other thoughts? Happy Friday!

  3. Hi Bethany. Thanks much for your feedback here. It’s of course appreciated. (And no reason to be sorry for the delay–haha!) I wholeheartedly agree that many probably did not see Saul as I have described him here. But I guess that is at least part of my point. The Bible, insofar as it depicts Saul as an enemy of David, who is a superhero of both the OT and NT, and a type of Christ, shows him as a king gone bad. Of course, I don’t know anything at all about his (or anybody’s) eternal state, but I definitely do not get the impression that Saul was repentant when he met his grisly end on the earthly plane–so to speak. As for the reference to David being a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13), sure, that is from the NT, but nevertheless, it’s pretty clear that David was thought very highly of by the early Jews of the OT. And, yes, Saul was annointed by God…but it seems as though he was doomed from the start–since he was not from the tribe of Judah, and since God directly warned Samuel that a king was going to bring hardship on the people…anointed or not. Anyway, great discussion. Would welcome more–but don’t feel obligated–I know you’re busy! All the best to you and yours.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 162 other followers

%d bloggers like this: