“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” —Philippians 3:7-8
Release The Old And Hold To The New
The Christian life is all about change. When one accepts Jesus Christ as his Saviour he becomes a new creation. From this point forward, there should always be a striving toward the new life that Christ has established in us. But in order for this to occur, there must be a willingness to let go of the old life and all that pertains to it. Things that were once important to us will have to give way to the new concerns that accompany the Christian life.
In the apostle Paul’s former life, the Jew’s religion held the highest place in his mind and in his heart. His every waking moment was consumed with the knowledge of the law, the keeping of Jewish tradition, and the protection of all he held dear. But when he came to Christ, the error of his former direction was made obvious. He then makes the decision to leave behind all that was once important to him, that he might grasp the new purpose that God had given him in Christ. You and I will be unable to advance in our Christian experience unless we are willing to let go of the things we once thought were most important.
What is getting in the way of your relationship with Christ? Does your job take up so much time that your relationship with Christ suffers? Does the pursuit of worldly pleasure steal away the time that you could spend with Christ in prayer? Is there any relationship that you place in front of your relationship with Christ? Some things that we need to release just involve an appropriate sense of priority. But other things, such as religion, need to be discarded altogether. The motive? That we might be free to pursue Christ unhindered by the weight of unprofitable endeavor.
Letting Go By Grace
God will aid us in the process of letting go of the things in our lives that are detrimental or unnecessary. In fact, without His grace, without His help, letting go of anything can be difficult, if not impossible. So while our will certainly plays a distinct role in letting go of the old life, the items that we are strongly bound to by emotion or through continued use, can be much harder to release. This is where the believer needs the help of the Holy Spirit. Letting go is really part of progressive sanctification. It is impossible for the believer to change his own heart. But this can be done with the help of the Holy Spirit.
So, how do we involve the Holy Spirit in the letting go process? By keeping our faith exclusively in Christ and what he did for us at Calvary! This attitude, this state of heart and mind gives the Holy Spirit the “green light” to work within the confines of our beings. He will first reveal to us that which is necessary to release. Then He will labor within us to produce a greater desire for the new things that God desires to bring into our lives, while the things that once dominated us fall to the wayside. He literally works to change our desires, and then He gives us the power to step away from or release whatever was hindering our relationship with Christ. Zechariah 4:6 declares that the believer is to live, “Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit saith the LORD.” With your faith solidly placed in Christ, the Holy Spirit will help you” let go” of the old life.
The Rewards Of Letting Go
Time and space do not allow me to fully describe or explain the rewards that Paul declares are ours when we choose to release the old and embrace the new, but in Philippians 3:8-11, Paul gives a list of things we are to gain when we make our relationship with Christ the priority of our lives.
First, we will begin to realize an advanced knowledge regarding Christ and the deeper issues of living for God and the Christian faith. This knowledge is superior to knowledge learned by man’s educational processes. In this knowledge, we are aided and abetted by the Holy Spirit, who guides us into all truth.
Second, Paul announces that we will win or gain Christ. This holds the idea that while we might have lost some things, we have won—by virtue of releasing the unnecessary, tawdry, even sinful elements around us—the approval of God. The end result is, I have gained Christ as my constant companion! I lose one to gain the other. Needless to say, by this simple exchange, I win. I win Christ. I gain a true relationship with Jesus, one that is growing and productive. This means that our walk with Christ will now produce a more intimate relationship with Jesus Himself. I walk with Him. I talk with Him. He guides me. He leads me. Oh how wonderful to gain Christ!
Third, we find ourselves resting and benefiting in the righteousness that is freely given to us by Christ. We are no longer striving to become acceptable to God. Instead, we are resting within the confines of the truth that Christ’s sacrifice has provided righteousness for us.
Fourth, we gain a more personal and experiential knowledge of Christ, the like we’ve never had in the past. By this knowledge, we will experience the power that raised Christ from the dead, as it works in us and for us. We will begin to comprehend that no matter what we might face in this life, God is with us. Also, we will learn that what we travel through has the potential of bringing us closer to the Lord. As we trust in Him and become one with Him in death, we will begin to experience all the benefits that His death on Calvary affords us.
And finally, when the trump of God sounds, we will attain to the consummation of the purpose of the Christian experience. Corruption will put on incorruption. Mortality will put on immortality. Our faith will become sight!
You have a lot to look forward to. Don’t spoil the journey that you’re experiencing now by holding tightly to the unnecessary. Let go and let God produce a life for you that’s truly worth living.