What does it mean to live with Christ at the center of our lives? To have him at the core of all that we are, all that we do, all that we believe? It often means being willing to lose a few things.
Paul knew about this sort of costly loss, and he powerfully explored it in Philippians 3:1–14. In his Jewish culture at that time, Paul had been in a position of spiritual and ethnic superiority. He was a Pharisee (a keeper of the law, a position of honor) and had an impressive Jewish pedigree. He had even persecuted Christians (verses 5–6). He had a heritage and legacy that would be envied by others. If anyone could have “confidence in the flesh” (verse 3, ESV), Paul could! Yet Paul urged the Philippian Christians—and us—to “put no confidence in the flesh.”
What is it that we place our confidence in? What are some things that we might boast in? What might we consider too great or too important to ever give up in order to truly live for Christ?
For some of us it could be money. Money has a way of making us feel secure. The allure of riches and all the comfort that can come with money make it hard to give up. That was certainly the case for the rich young man (Mark 10:17–27). We know the story—he saw the Lord, he desired to follow him, but when the choice had to be made, he wouldn’t give up all he had for Jesus.
For some of us, it may be a relationship or a job. Or maybe it’s the thought of facing your family with the news that you are a Christian—and the high cost that would have in your life. Whatever it is for you, there’s always a temptation for each of us to place something above our Lord.1