2Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. 3For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained. (NIV)
Joy from Having a Personal Relationship of Faith in Jesus Christ
We work hard to accumulate credentials: degrees, honors, professional recognition, status, wealth. But when the Christ of the cross turns his gaze toward us the only thing we can cry is, "Lord, remember me when you enter your kingdom." As the gospel song has it, "Nothing in my hands I bring; only to thy cross I cling; wash me Savior or I die."
If God wanted to save us by adding up our achievements he would have sent a bookkeeper. Instead he sent a Savior. Laws, rules, regulations, rituals: they all have their value and place. But at the end of the day and the end of life they all fade away, while our relationship with Christ, by faith, shines as bright as the morning sun.
Prayer: Dear God, fill me and help me value the simple joy that comes from knowing Christ my Lord.