Christianity is full of paradoxes. The last shall be first. If you want to be great, be a servant. When you humble yourself, God will exalt you. When we are weak that is when we are strong. There is another deep and profound paradox mentioned in Philippians 3 that will transform the way that we live our lives: If you want to experience the victory of winning in your life, you must be willing to lose (Philippians 3:3-11).
That goes against our upbringing and training. Those of us who grew up playing sports were taught that you play to win. We were taught that no one remembers second place. Much of life as we see it comes down to winning or losing. The Word of God challenges our competitive nature by teaching us that ultimately we win by losing. You cannot have victory until you are willing to suffer loss.
We win when we are willing to lose our status (v. 3-7). Here, Paul discusses his willingness to lose his status for the Savior. If anyone could brag about who he was and what he had done, it was Paul. He had an impressive resume. First of all Paul was born into privilege. He also accomplished much by his own merit. He was a Pharisee. He studied the Law and knew the scriptures better than most. He was a strict adherent to the Law. Paul finds himself in the position of an accountant having to reassess his balance sheet. Those things that he thought were gains (the pedigree, the titles, the legalistic law keeping), were actually to be counted as losses.
There is a need to assess and examine our lives so that we can be confident in what is important! There are things that we think add value to our lives that really should be counted as losses. God is not impressed by our net worth or our social network. He is not all that concerned about where you went to school. Job titles and certifications don’t give you a competitive advantage in eyes of God. We have to be willing to count them as loss for the sake of Christ.
Often, the unwillingness of lose keeps us from a deeper level of discipleship. Many of us aren’t willing to lose standing and status. We aren’t willing to let go of power and prestige. We are trying to hold on to what we were and wonder why we are struggling to be who God has called us to be. You cannot stay where you are and expect to get to where God wants you to be. We win when we are willing to lose. We lose ourselves so that we can know Christ and the power of His resurrection.
Those things that we once counted as gain, we should count as loss so that we may have Christ manifest in our lives. To know Christ is to experience Him beyond the intellectual grasp. It is to be intimately aware of His nature and character. To know Him is to acknowledge Him as Lord. What you have to give up loses its value to you when you focus on the riches found in knowing Christ Jesus. What’s keeping you from knowing the exceedingly surpassing overwhelming greatness of Christ?
Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.