3 Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.
2 Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. 3 For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort,4 though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more!
5 I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. 6 I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.
7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9 and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!
Wow, what a statement Paul makes here–”Everything is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus!” The order is important. It’s not that we work at making everything seem worthless to us–it is the result of our coming to know Christ Jesus! That seems to be Paul’s whole point in this passage.
How much do I want to know Christ? The answer isn’t easy for all too often I only want to experience the power of his resurrection, but skip the suffering. I think that’s why, over the years, I have held back. I wanted to know more and more of Jesus Christ, but I backed away from saying I wanted to share in his suffering. I just need to want more “oneness” with Christ! That’s what I need to focus on–not the power or even the suffering.