Philippians 3:14-16, “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet, indeed I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ…” (NKJV)
I often hear people talk of salvation as a free gift from God. It’s true. The forgiveness God gives is free. He has paid the debt we owe because of our sin. It was a debt we could never pay. He didn’t do this because we deserved it, but because we needed it and his love for us is so deep, so strong, so unconditional that he willingly sacrificed the life of his only son for you and me. Because of this sacrifice you have been or can be forgiven of the worst thing you’ve ever done. The good news is better than that, however. Because of his sacrifice you can be forgiven of the worst thing you haven’t done yet. This free gift of God is complete and comes with no strings attached.
I don’t know what this does in you. For me, I am humbled by the thought that God would do this for me. The sense of gratitude I feel toward God because of his gift is overwhelming. It creates in me a desire to give my life to him, for him, and to live in a way that honors him. I don’t do this in order to earn his favor. I already have that. I choose to live this way out of love for him. That’s when I realize, my salvation may be free, but following Christ will cost me something. It’s a price I am eager to pay.
In these verses Paul says something similar. At the beginning of the chapter Paul gives us his résumé and then tells us he’s given up all of that in order to pursue Christ. Becoming a Christ-follower cost him something. It wasn’t a price that was demanded. It was a price Paul willingly paid because of his desire to honor Christ. I think Paul would call it a sacrifice. I have two preferred definitions of sacrifice.
- Giving up something you love for the sake of something you love even more.
- Giving up more than you think you can afford and trusting God to provide.
What has following Christ cost you? What sacrifices have you made in order to honor Christ with your life and your choices? If sacrifice means giving up something you love for the sake of something you love even more then what do your choices show that you really love? Is there something in your life you choose to follow or to pursue more than Christ? If so, you’ve found the thing you love more than him. You’ve sacrificed part of your relationship with him for that thing you chose instead. Is God leading you to give up more than you think you can afford? Paul was there. I’ve been there. Let me assure you, if God is asking you to give it God can be trusted to supply it, exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think. Trust him.
Your salvation is free. Genuinely following Christ will likely cost you something. How far are you willing to go?
Thank you for you for wiping the slate clean. Thank you for forgiving me of the worst thing I’ve ever done the worst thing I’ll ever do, and everything in between. Today, I want to follow you. I don’t want to run ahead of you or lag behind you. I simply want to go where you lead and do what honors you. Out of gratitude for your gift of grace I want to honor you with my choices even when doing so costs me something. I want to say, “costs me everything.” But I’m not sure I can keep that promise. So, give me the strength and endurance to keep my word, even when it costs me something…everything.
I love you, in Jesus name –