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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Parnell

One Thing Is Necessary (Philippians 3:7-8)

[But] whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. ⁸Indeed, 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 3:7-8

Treasuring Jesus Christ is the most important thing in our lives. Hands down.

This passage of Scripture may be as plain as it gets on the superiority of Jesus over all things. Paul starts by defining the Christian faith, explaining that a Christian is known by what he boasts in (Philippians 3:3–6). Said negatively, to be Christian is to not boast in the flesh. Positively, to be Christian is to glory in Jesus. But Paul has some flesh credentials. He was a good Jewish man, a law keeper (vv. 4–6). So if anyone could pull the flesh card and hold it up as a reason for divine approval, it would be Paul. That’s what he’s getting at.

But he knows better. His hypothetical “reason for confidence in the flesh”—the greatest asset on his religious resume—is considered nothing. He lets it go. He shatters it. For the sake of Christ. Verse 7 introduces the basic idea that is then repeated and extended in verse 8.

“Everything,” he goes on to say—good Jewishness or law keeping or what have you—anything that I’m tempted to be proud about, the best moments and trophies of my life, they are nothing to me. They are loss. But why? Because now I have the best, most ultimate treasure in knowing Jesus. He’s the one I want. Jesus and more of Jesus. Everything else is rubbish compared to Him. I call it trash, garbage. Just give me Jesus.

What happens in this passage is that Paul just starts reveling in the goodness of Jesus. We get to read his boasting. It is for us. And this is where we have to come and stop. Stop everything and ask ourselves the question: do I love Jesus?

This really is the most important thing in the universe—whether we love Jesus.

Our intimacy with Jesus, our knowing Him and loving Him, matters more than anything else. Yes, other things are important. Good theology matters, walking in integrity matters, loving the church matters, being a good spouse and parent matters—and how much sweeter are these things that matter when they flow from a heart that is glad in the thing that matters most?

Jesus Christ is better. Jesus Christ is better than anything in the world, in the universe. Whatever it is you have going in your life right now, even the best of things, Jesus Christ is absolutely better. Father, make us to know Him more!


For Reflection

1. What most tempts you to put “confidence in the flesh?” 2. When have you most recently experienced the truth that Jesus is better? 3. Consider the wonder: we are not saved by how much we love Jesus, but we are saved by the death and resurrection of Jesus for us that then frees and empowers us to taste His greatness over all things.


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