The Apostle Paul had this attitude: “I can’t lose for winning!” I can just hear him, “Heads I win, Tails I win!” The book of Philippians has been called the “Letter of Laughter”, a “Manual of Joy.” It has been estimated that Paul spent at least twenty five percent of his life in jail and yet his joy was contagious. I think while he was in prison he wore a shirt and on the front it read “I am Bound but Blessed” and on the back it read “Shacked but Sure”. They should sell these at Lifeway!
There are one hundred and four verses in this letter that was penned while Paul was incarcerated. Nineteen times it mentions “joy” and seventy times it mentions “Christ!” It was obvious that he had been “Intercepted by the Resurrected” and had been “Dazed by the Raised!” I think he would agree with Adrian Rogers who said, “If Jesus doesn’t excite you, maybe you have calluses on your soul.”
When you peak behind the curtain of Paul’s life the thing that is easily detected is his laser like focus! We all have many things clamoring for our attention. The Buick needs an oil change, both kids have a science project due…TOMORROW and the garage is a mess. When your head is spinning with all the things left on your “To Do” list, the best thing TO DO, is check your priorities.
In Philippians 3:7 Paul wrote, “But what things were gain to me.” This is plural. He was saying, all my accomplishments, education and even my reputation; all these things “I counted”which means he assessed, considered and evaluated them as loss for Christ. The word “loss” is singular! In other words, I heaped it all into one big pile and counted it as rubbish. All my accomplishments are worthless. He took down his diplomas and cleared out his trophy case. Nothing mattered to him but Jesus!
Someone has called this Divine Arithmetic. Warren Weirsebe said, “Paul had to lose religion to find salvation.”Jim Eliot stated it like this, “He is no fool to give what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”What was Paul’s motivation? He writes, “That I may know Him.” The Greek word there means to know by experience. The Psalmist put it like this in Psalm 46:1-2 “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” We must have a thirst for our God!
The secret to Paul’s life is a statement he made earlier in his letter. He said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”His focus, no matter the circumstances was King Jesus! His priority was the Prince of Peace. Life is tough. There are many dark days but Jesus truly is the light! Yes, get that oil changed, help your kids with that project and for goodness sake clean your garage, but while you are doing all of that, be sure and “Practice the Presence of Jesus.” We are “Too Blessed to be Stressed.”