Grab a piece of paper and a pencil. Go ahead, get something to write on and with. Now, make a list of all the things you consider of value to you or that you are proud of. Include in that list material possessions, personal accomplishments, honors and awards, and other things you value deeply. How do these make you feel? How much are they worth to you?
Paul had accomplished quite a bit in his life. He was a man of high esteem, incredible education, significant social clout, and he was probably fairly wealthy. His greatest value was the religious accomplishments he had obtained, being a Pharisee taught by one of the most important Jewish teachers of his day. Paul tells us that if anyone had the ability to be proud, he was it. He had power, prestige, social status, kept God’s law as a Pharisee, and was super committed to his church. But compared to knowing Jesus Christ, all this is just a pile of poop. Oops, I shouldn’t write that, but that is exactly what he said. Read Philippians 3:8 again. He says that he considers all his accomplishments and possessions “rubbish” compared to knowing Christ Jesus his Lord. The word rubbish is the Greek word for dung, poop, doo doo. Yep, it’s in the Bible. Paul is saying that all the stuff the world has, and all the awards, trophies, possessions, money, power, prestige, social standing… are doo doo compared to an awesome relationship with Christ. Think about this for a moment. What would have to happen in your life for you to get to the point where you consider the list you made as no more value than rubbish in comparison to knowing Jesus?
Furthermore, look at the path Paul says he will take to know Christ deeply in Philippians 3:7-11. The path includes the power of the resurrection, that’s pretty good. But what about the rest, “the fellowship of his suffering, being conformed to his death.” That does not seem like an enjoyable journey, but this is what Paul is getting at. The path to true joy and great purpose is the path of the cross centered life. From the outside, that path looks ridiculous. No way experiencing the suffering of Jesus is better than my car, my house, my trophies, my accomplishments. But a person on that path discovers something, or someone that is vastly better than my stuff, they find Jesus. He is the greatest prize, he is the most wonderful experience, he is the source of joy. Paul is expressing what many have found, compared to knowing Jesus, the list is poop.
Ask yourself an honest question, if it came between the things listed on this page and your relationship with Jesus, which would you choose? Remember, in reality the stuff you wrote on your list is really just poop!