I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8
When I first got out of college and graduate school, I thought I was ready to take on the world. I had a few years of schooling under my belt and God had done some pretty wild things in and through me. They were ‘wild’ good and I was wanting to share them with anyone I could. The funny thing was that no one seemed to care. They weren’t running up to me asking me how much I knew, wanting to know what God had done in my life, all the places I had been…
I’ve always said that the maturity path is: in your twenties you think you know everything, in your thirties you don’t think you know anything, and then after that you have a pretty good sifting of what you do and don’t know. BUT, I’ve missed the point. At least according to Philippians 3:8. IT’S NOT ABOUT ME. It never was. Maybe somebody should have told me that back in my twenties, and maybe they tried and I couldn’t hear it. It should have been about Jesus all along.
Paul said it in Philippians 3: I used to brag on myself all of the time. If anyone could do anything, I could do it better. But now I count it as rubbish compared to knowing Jesus. I started to figure this out a few years ago after reading a cool old book called They Found the Secret by V. Raymond Edmonds (1960, Zondervan). He was the President of Wheaton College and he compiled stories of famous Christians from the early to mid 1900’s. They were people who knew God and who did things for Him.
There is the story of one guy that really changed my thinking about just waiting to tell people about myself and what God has done in me–and turning that around to just talking about Jesus. His name is Ian Thomas. He said that he learned, Only as I related situations to Jesus did I find that He undertook. As soon as I related a situation to myself, He retired into the background…That is the secret; it is so simple! Just to relate everything to the Lord Jesus, and take our hands off–to stand back and say, ‘I thank Thee, Lord, this is Thy situation! (page 140)
Picture it: Jesus is with you and you’re talking about Him. He stays front and center and He’s free to work, and stuff happens. People are drawn to Him, lives are changed, and the things you are trying to do actually go ten times smoother than usual. You don’t draw attention to yourself, just to others and point to Jesus whenever you can. But then you start talking about yourself and Jesus withdraws into the background. He isn’t free to work, and the opposite is true. Things don’t go as smoothly, the cult of “you” is formed, and you’re the only member.
Ian Thomas had said earlier in his testimony, I tried to make up with noise what I lacked in effectiveness and power (page 137). The less we put our confidence in Christ, and the more we put it in ourselves, the more we need the “noise.” We may be seeking effectiveness and power, but looking for it through the noise of our personality, skills, technology, loud music, or whatever else we take pride in other than Jesus.
So I’m better than I used to be. I don’t try to jump in with stories about myself, or ‘one up’ someone else’s story. In fact, if people ask me about myself, I’m quick to try to bring it around to what Jesus has done or to get out of the limelight. Maybe I’m in the ‘Paul club’ now, where I count all my stuff as rubbish just so I may gain Christ and be found in Him. At least I hope so.