I think one of the big challenges of this upcoming generation is the idea that we are saved by faith alone. I don't know about you, but for me personally, trying to please God with what I do is often a big issue for me. I think that I can impress God, or at least make Him think better of me in case I know I've sinned. If we could boast in the good things we've done for God -- as Paul says it, putting "confidence in the flesh" -- I'd be doing pretty well. I do tech and sing at my church. I've co-directed a car wash fundraiser that's raised over 10,000 dollars. I've been a part of a drama team for a week-long youth convention of 5,000 teens. I guess overall you could say I've done some pretty great things for God.
Okay, if you didn't already know, Paul's point is exactly the opposite. We can't do enough to appease God. After telling his readers all the great things he's done, Paul hits them with some of the most powerful words in scripture. "But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ." Please, if you get nothing else from this post, let the words of verses 7-11 soak into you. We can do nothing to find favor with God, because He's already done everything for us. We can't add to the infinite value of Jesus Christ's death on the cross. That's why everything in our lives is worth nothing unless we use them to pursue Christ even more.
There's a lot more I could say, but let's move on. First, Paul commends his readers to forget their past burdens and press on for Christ (v. 13). I think it's so easy to get discouraged by our past sins, but if Christ has indeed forgiven us, we are free to live for Him with the burdens of our past
Listen, if you try to satisfy God with anything besides what He's already done, you'll fail. But if you strive to live for Him in the forgiveness that He's granted, then we can rejoice in a day where Jesus Christ will come for us. Jesus is worth everything, his forgiveness covers all, and He gives us the power through the Holy Spirit to live for Him.
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.