now for the litany.
a litany is a prayer of devotion, or prayers of petition, usually engaged in a formal worship service. So here is a reflection on the Word that I pray leads to prayer, to devotion, to petition, to worship.
in Philippians 3:7-11 Paul writes
But 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. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
The ‘gain’ to which Paul refers is this long list of goods :
— I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh…
- circumcised on the eighth day
- of the people of Israel
- of the tribe of Benjamin
- a Hebrew of Hebrews
- as to the law, a Pharisee
- as to zeal, a persecutor of the church
- as to righteousness under the law, blameless (Philippians 3:4-6)
You might be thinking – well, you know where all of that got him!… but the thing is, this list makes up what he worked for, his parents sacrificed for him to have, all of his accomplishments… this list summarizes his (former) identity.
He lists his best and then writes – I count it at loss for the sake of Christ.
At this you might be thinking, well of course he does – this is his pre-conversion accomplishments which led him to murder Christians…
but the thing is, they are still accomplishments. and it is still his identity. or at least, was.
And then Paul writes, I have counted all of these great accomplishments and awards as rubbish!! in order that I may gain Christ.
By any means – even death and suffering, through abandoning all accomplishment and earthly good – Paul desires to gain Christ.
So, my question that I pray leads to your own personal prayer is this :
When is the last time you listed your own accomplishments, accolades, and awards, and not only realized that compared to Christ they are little, but you counted them as rubbish??
When is the last time you named your best features and gains and then used them in an argument against yourself and for the sake of Christ?
When is the last time?
Or, would this be the first time?… For me, the is the first time (at least in a loooong time) when the Lord has laid before me all of who I consider myself, all of my comforts, my character traits and my college degree, my children,… all of it.. laid before me, I lay it before the Lord, before my world, and say – I count it as loss and as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ.
Let’s be found in Him…
- not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law
- but having a righteousness that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith
- that I may know him and the power of his resurrection
- a sharer in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death
- that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead
Let’s begin. Let’s gain Christ. Let’s be so completely devoted to Him that it results in the destruction of ourselves. Let’s worship Him for all of who He is in every way that we can. Let’s obtain His resurrection!