Pondering the Passages: Philippians 3:7-11

This Weeks Memory Verse:  Philippians 3:7-8a “ But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…”

This Weeks Passage: Philippians 3:7-11

7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What 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 9 and 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. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Often times when I look at a passage there are questions that immediately spring to mind. Other times I am struck by phrases that stand out. As I pondered this passage there were particular words that grabbed my attention.

Whatever” – in other words Paul is saying that no matter how much success he has had from the world’s perspective none of it matters a hill of beans. Christ has captured his heart and Christ is his everything. Question I ask myself: Has my heart been unequivocally captured by Christ?

Surpassing” – It’s almost as if Paul cannot think of a superlative that would do justice to how he feels about knowing Christ. He was not content to just say the “greatness of knowing Christ”  – he had to add surpassing greatness. Question for me: Does knowing Christ mean anywhere near as much to me as it did to Paul?

Lord” – Paul could have stopped with”knowing Christ Jesus” and we would have gotten his point, but he went on to add “my Lord”. Why? What was he trying to communicate to his readers? In 2:11 of this book Paul declares that “Jesus Christ IS Lord”. Here, however, he declares that Jesus is “my Lord.” There is a big difference in knowing on the one hand that Jesus Christ IS Lord and on the other hand knowing Him as my Lord. For Christ to be Lord means that I have pledged allegiance to Him alone and completely surrendered everything about my life to Him – relinquishing control once and for all and allowing Him to dictate how I will live this life. Question for me: Have I done this?

Rubbish” – This is  one of my favorite words in the Greek New Testament. It is the word “skubala”. Here it is translated rubbish. Other translations have it as dung or refuse. What the word really means is “crap”. A few things I thought about with regard to crap: 1) Nobody is saving it up – you never hear anyone say, “Hey, I’ve got a bunch of really great crap I’ve been collecting, come on over to the house and I’ll show it to you” 2) It’s not something you would ever spend money on – there is no such thing as a Crap Store and I never see coupons like “20% off all our crap”  (- on second thought maybe you do.) 3) It actually started out as something good – but over time it devolved into something that is only good to flush away. 4) The best thing about crap is getting rid of it. It feels really good to get rid of all your crap. Conversely, there is this thing called impaction that is not only unhealthy but does not feel good at all – in other words, trying to hoard crap can actually be painful. 5) You never really hear people talking about their crap (unless you are in my middle school Sunday School class) – When is the last time you heard someone say. “Man I’ve gotta tell you about this great crap I had this morning.”

Now, put all this in the context of what Paul is saying in this passage. EVERYTHING to him was just a bunch of skubala compared to knowing Christ. Question for me: On a scale of 1-10, how much of a crap-lover am I? Am I willing to get rid of all my crap if it means I can know Christ better?

Found” – We all know the Amazing Grace verse “I once was lost but now am found…” I think for the most part we get the fact that we were completely lost. But I kind of think we equate our lostness to a game of hide and seek – where when the game is over if we still have not been found we come out of our hiding place and allow ourselves to be found. This is not the gospel AT ALL. We were so lost  that even if we tried to be found we never would be. The ONLY way we were ever found is that The Shepherd of our Souls went looking for us and did not give up until He FOUND us – wandering hopelessly and helplessly  and desperately in the desert of our eternal lostness. We try really hard to get found by doing all the right things, being “religious” enough, giving away enough, helping others enough. Paul is saying here that not only is all our crap worthless but so is our attempt to make ourselves holy by acting righteous. The ONLY way to be found, he says, is by…

Faith” – At first glance it would seem that God has made it much easier for us to be found. Quit trying to do do do (he’s already said that that is like do-do in His sight), instead just believe – have faith. Sounds easy right? It is easy… until you understand what saving faith really is. Let me try to define it as I am coming to understand it – then you tell me which is easier. Faith in Christ involves total surrender on my part. It is no longer about what I want or what I need or what I dream about. It is about Christ and what He wants. Faith says each day “I die to myself and live for Him.” Faith acknowledges that apart from Him I am nothing. Faith submits willingly and joyfully to His “whatevers” and completely discounts my whatevers. Faith acts intentionally and courageously to pursue a gospel centered, gospel saturated life. Faith boasts in the cross and the work of Christ – not in my efforts no matter how good they may be. Faith waits patiently for God’s timing instead of plowing forward with all my great ideas. Faith prays.

Just the act of writing all that out helps me recognize how puny my faith is compared to Paul. Not sure I’m really liking this passage now that I’m having to deal with and personalize it. Just a bit too convicting for me. I do however like the idea of the last word I will comment on:

Power” – The idea of power is intoxicating. And then I’m reminded that the kind of power Paul is talking about comes in a completely different looking package than what most of us want. Check out what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: “But (the Lord) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. See, here is where Paul and I are 2 different cats. I, myself, delight in strength, in compliments, in encouraging affirmation, in easy times, in good health, in wealth, in fun. So far to go! So much to learn!

Okay, I realize this has been a very long post. So much in this passage that grabbed me. How about you? I’d love to hear what grabbed you as you pondered this passage. If you have questions or thoughts that you don’t want to post but want to dialogue about then feel free to e-mail me at sreyner@Ridgecrest.cc.

Next weeks passage: Hebrews 12:1-3
Next weeks memory verse: Hebrews 12:1

6 thoughts on “Pondering the Passages: Philippians 3:7-11

  1. Thank you Shay for breaking down this strong message. When I am weak then I am srong only makes sense by the Power of God and the Holy Spirit taking charge by my surrender. Thank you again.

  2. The later portion of this passage has grabbed my attention more than the beginning. Vs. 9) not in my own righteousness from the law – but through faith. This righteousness through faith seems to be an on-going struggle. Earlier this week I had a long conversation with a co-worker regarding what we do as outward signs of conversion and the motive/attitude of our hearts. Surprisingly more often than not our outward signs/works are so far from the real attitude of worship for God in our hearts. We blindly plod along doing good works in the church, but while we are doing it – our hearts are not worshipping Him or in communion with Him. Which comes to vs10) I want to know Christ in the power of His ressurection. If I can only grab ahold of the really knowing him thing. In the power of His ressurection, does that mean the raising the dead power? I would settle for raising my spiritual dead parts/attitudes. In 10b) not so sure about the fellowship of His sufferings. We as American christians hardly want to take the time to disciple non-believers. Let alone bearing and paying the price for their sin. Why, it’s a lot of work and drama, and it’s time consuming. God forbid that we give our precious time to something or someone that doesn’t in some way benefit us on a personal or professional level.

    I don’t know about you all. But these last couple of verses were pretty convicting to me.

  3. Shay….Can’t believe this was the passage for this week. It was so timely for me! THANKS. Your thoughts are great (as usual….the twinks haven’t heard the message yet….but THANK YOU. VERY SWEET!)

  4. Great post Shay. Very convicting of my anemic faith. Hard to understand why it’s anemic when the all powerful God of the universe is residing & desiring to be unleashed in me. May He increase & I decrease.

  5. Great Week !! WOW…….an you say Convicted !! Im starting to have so many thaughts, notes and relating passages and scripture through this, i think im going to take kims approach and start a blog. so that through out the week i can just keep thaughts and not take up like 2 pages on here…..lol .

    Through out the past couple of weeks . Our “off week” and this week . All this Pondering has brought me to this thaught .

    In Growing and knowing Him . Im really stuggling with …… Why does our nature continue to be sinful .When our calling is to Holiness . I mean if we know Gods calling , why do we continue to Sin on our own account ???

    Just where im at right now………Any thaughts?? email me @ greglineberry@ymail.com

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