About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Living With Loss

"But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ ..." (Philippians 3:7 - 8). 

The above statement was written by the Apostle Paul, a former Pharisee and possible member of the ruling class of Jews known as the Sanhedrin.  Prior to meeting Jesus on his way to Damascus, Paul was on the fast track of what was considered the good life among the Jewish elite.  "I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers" (Galatians 1:14).  Paul considered all of the wealth, prestige, and good things that accompanied his climb up the ladder of Judaism a loss.  Beyond just considering it a loss, he would have actually lost his so-called good life, including the loss of friends, money, prestige, and even the loss of freedom of movement while in prison for his association with Jesus His Lord.      

How do you live with loss?  How have you dealt with the loss of a loved-one, a job, an investment, a house, a car, or whatever?  Let us see how Paul survived the loss of all that was meaningful in his life.     

Paul said that he had lost all things.  He considered all the things he lost garbage (Philippians 3:8).  How could he have come to the place in his life where he could exist apart from his perceived reason to live?  He said that knowing the surpassing greatness of Christ Jesus his Lord more than compensated for the loss of his reason to live.     

You might think that Paul had an advantage over most of us in living with loss.  He met the resurrected Jesus in a very powerful and dramatic way.  He had numerous visions and revelations that provided him a new reason to live.  Few of us have been so blessed.  On the other hand, few of us have suffered for our association with Jesus as Paul did.  I doubt that we would have handled Paul's losses with the grace we see in Paul's life.    

However you view Paul's life in comparison to your life, he had a life-long trusting relationship with Jesus his Lord that enabled him to live with the loss of all that was meaningful in his life.   He could not only endure the loss, he could rejoice in the loss and the hardships he encountered because of his association with Jesus.       

I know you have heard this over and over again as Christians, but if you have not submitted and trusted your life to Jesus your Lord, you may struggle with living with loss.  It is the message the Evangelical church has preached for a couple of centuries, but it's a message that has not been realized in the daily lives of many Evangelicals.  Our life does not always match our words.  Being a Christian is not a matter of simply saying you are a Christian.  It is not a matter of adopting a Biblical belief system.  It is not some kind of imaginative mindset we have invented over the years.  Being a Christian is being in a trusting relationship with the resurrected Jesus via His Holy Spirit.  Experiencing the reality of Jesus in our lives will, beyond any doubt, compensate for any loss you will ever incur in your life.  Whether it is the loss of your health, your finances, your friends, or your family, or whatever, experiencing the surpassing greatness of Christ Jesus your Lord more than compensates for any loss you could possibly incur.     


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