Philippians 3:8-11 "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead."
I’ve recently had the opportunity to attend a seminar by author Paul Miller called the “J-Curve”. The J-curve is simply the pattern of the life of Christ and the gospel. One that represents death and resurrection. This was the life of Christ in that He that died and was resurrected so that we can have life. The struggle I’ve always had in my life is trying to figure out how to live like Christ. Oftentimes in sermons you’ll hear wonderful theological truths only to walk away trying to figure out what this looks like in our own lives or how we can possibly live this way. The J-curve gives us a clue on how to do this. The apostle Paul understood this well and saw this in his own life. When you read Paul’s letter to the Philippians you see that Paul speaks about knowing Jesus in a whole different way. In Philippians 3, Paul speaks about everything in his life that he held to dearly. Everything in his life that he counted as worth something. Everything that he used to draw life from. His status, his background, his education, etc. What Paul explains in his letter is that all of that is now rubbish when compared to knowing Jesus. Easier said than done! So how did Paul come to a point to want Christ more than those things of the flesh? More than earthly gain, achievements and recognition? He suffered. When you read what Paul is saying in Philippians 3:9, you see that Paul shares an important theological truth that states that our righteousness only comes from faith in Christ. For many of us Christians though that’s where it ends. We live “comfortably” knowing that we are saved and we teach, correctly, that it only comes from faith in Jesus. When you continue reading though Paul adds more stating “10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” When you add verses 9, 10 and 11 together, you get the key to the Christian life and living. We know Christ and the power of His resurrection when we place our faith in Him and share in His sufferings becoming like Him in His death. It’s when we suffer that we know Jesus in ways we never could have imagined. It’s when we suffer that we can look at Jesus and say “now I know how you felt.” It’s when we suffer that we can experience a “death” but also look forward to the resurrection that comes after. A resurrection that comes only when it comes from Jesus as the only source of life. That’s the J-curve and that’s how God works. Paul understood this and wanted nothing more than this in his life. Let us do the same. Let us share in His sufferings so that we too may experience the power of His resurrection and know Him in ways we’ve only imagined. That’s the Christian life.