"What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ."
The scoreboard doesn't always tell the whole story when it comes to competition. "The scoreboard said I lost today, but what the scoreboard doesn't say is what it is I've found," 36-year-old tennis icon, Andre Agassi told the crowd after ending his career with a 3rd-round loss at the 2006 U.S. Open. Agassi was referring to finding loyalty and support from tennis fans during his illustrious 21-year career.
The Apostle Paul had a pretty illustrious career himself as a Jewish religious leader. He outlined his accomplishments in Philippians 3:3-6, boldly stating that "if anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more" (v.4). If the Pharisees had a Hall of Fame, Paul would have been well on his way there. That is, until he lost everything that made him famous and found Jesus.
It is interesting that the very thing in which people put so much value, is what Paul willingly gave up when he found something far greater. The world believed that Paul lost in the "game" of life, but he knew without a doubt that he gained victory through Jesus.
These days, the world uses a scoreboard that emphasizes what you wear, what you do, who you hang out with, how much you've accomplished, where you live, etc. However, the Bible tells us that "friendship with the world is hatred toward God. Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God" (James 4:4). Those seem like harsh words, but this is serious stuff. We must be willing to lose that which the world says is so important for the sake of gaining friendship with Christ.
1. What is something you've found through competition that outweighs the importance of wins and losses?
2. Do you agree with Paul that "everything" is a loss compared to knowing Christ? Why or why not?
3. What is something in your life that you are afraid of losing? What is Jesus telling you to do about this?