I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
When St. Paul talks about counting everything as loss, that’s a little hard to understand.
Everything, Paul? Really?
Yes, really. At least when compared to knowing Christ Jesus as Lord.
Paul tells us that there is absolutely nothing in all creation that compares with knowing Christ Jesus as our Lord.
Christ Jesus is the Word through whom God created the entire universe. What could be greater than the Creator?
Yet, that’s the temptation of the devil. To focus more on the creation than the Creator.
God did such a wonderful job with his creation, it is very tempting to overlook the Creator when we wonder in awe looking at his creation.
I’ve been to the Pacific shore near San Diego. I’ve been to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and the Bitterroot Range in Idaho. I’ve hiked through Jackson Hole in the shadow of the Grand Tetons and explored the hot springs in Yellowstone National Park. I’ve napped in the shade on the white sands of Cabo San Lucas. I’ve slalomed down the slopes of the Dolomites in Cortina, Italy. (I’ve been incredibly blessed to have parents that love me and have taken me to these places or allowed me to go to these places based on the blessings God has given them.)
It is a very real temptation to overlook the Creator when you are in the presence of his majestic creation.
This is what Martin Luther has getting at when he wrote,
“The invocation of saints is also one of the Antichrist’s abuses that conflicts with the chief article and destroys the knowledge of Christ. It is neither commanded nor counseled, nor has it any warrant in Scripture. Even if it were a precious thing—which it is not—we have everything a thousand times better in Christ” (Smalcald Articles Article II The Mass, quoted from Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, copyright © 2005, 2006 by Concordia Publishing House, pp 266-67).
Which is why regular morning devotions is vital for me. When I start each day with reading God’s Word, reading a devotion based on God’s Word, and spend time in extended prayer to God, then I have more strength from the Holy Spirit to overcome this temptation of overlooking the Creator.
But I can only do this because Christ Jesus is my Lord.
This is what Paul is getting at when he says that he counts every as loss when compared to knowing Christ.
- S. Lewis is reported to have written (as found in the book The Joyful Christian),
“Aim at heaven and you get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”
Why would I want to focus solely on the creation when I am offered a deep and everlasting relationship with the Creator?
Because of my salvation won by Christ alone through his death and resurrection, I can truly enjoy God’s creation even as I look forward to my everlasting life on the New Earth (see Revelation 21).
Heavenly Father, thank you for this amazing creation that you have placed me in to look after and enjoy. I pray that you will strengthen me in my faith in Jesus by the Holy Spirit so that I never overlook you, the Creator, while enjoying your creation ; through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.
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