Saul, being stripped of position, prestige and power, becoming Paul, who counted it all “garbage” for Jesus.
To quote Alaister Baig on a recent radio broadcast, “Let us not slip quietly into heaven without having sounded the trumpet call for Jesus Christ. Rather, let us live in such a manner that the devil himself throws a thanksgiving feast to celebrate the day of our departure from the battlefield!”
Inspiring words, but can we say them in honesty?
Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which [is] from the law, but that which [is] through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:7-11
If we acknowledge that we are living in a battle, and no, I do not mean “every man’s battle,” but BIG PICTURE, the warfare of the Kingdom, then we WILL suffer hardship. Do not shrink back, fellow comrades, from this dark privilege. “…I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as garbage, that I may gain Christ…” Guys, don’t try to avoid this. In actuality, you may already be living it! Embrace the hardship, the suffering, the desolation and the brokenness. Thomas Paine summed it up well when he wrote, “These are the times that try mens’ souls…” This is the dark privilege. This is the forge where our armor is molded, where our swords are sharpened for battle.
“…I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as garbage, that I may gain Christ…” Remember, Paul is not necessarily talking about salvation here. He is talking about fullness in Christ-living up to our predestined potential, reaching our destiny in Him.