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! – Philippians 3:8-10 NLT
There are not very many people in history who have had the long-lasting influence that the apostle Paul has had. Perhaps no other human has been more effective in their part of the growth of the church of Christ since Jesus’ resurrection, then this man who lived 2,000 years ago. Paul is one of the more fascinating characters in all of scripture and his story is present all throughout the New Testament. Paul would go on multiple missionary journeys bringing the Gospel to new communities throughout the first century. He would also write letters to these communities and their leaders. These letters make up about half of the books included in the New Testament. But what makes Paul’s life so intriguing is that as Paul traveled to more and more communities taking the good news of Jesus Christ to new people, his trials and sufferings would continually get worse and worse. Paul would be persecuted everywhere he went. He would be thrown in jail countless times, beaten, dragged out of the city, flogged, attacked, and rejected time and time again. Paul went from a position of anger, persecution, and power prior to his conversion, to a place of service and suffering in ministry to the Lord Jesus. Why would Paul continue to preach this gospel message when it seemingly brought him such hardship? Because when compared to knowing Christ Jesus, everything else is garbage. This is what Paul says in Philippians 3: 8-10.
Philippians is one of the more extraordinary examples of faith you will find in all of the Bible. Paul wrote this letter from a Roman prison, a cell he spent multiple years in before eventually being beheaded. Yet this letter that Paul writes has been called Paul’s joy letter. The entire letter is about how he rejoices in Christ despite his sufferings. Despite his hardships, his joy is multiplied because of one thing, he knew Jesus. And because he knew Jesus, no earthly circumstance could stop him from expressing the joy he felt from his saving relationship with him.
I strongly encourage you to take the time to read through Paul’s letter to the Philippians during your time in quarantine. In these short four chapters you will find Paul’s graceful words encouraging you to rejoice in every aspect of your life You will find Paul’s excitement about Jesus infectious. You will find yourself growing in your joy about his love for you no matter what earthly circumstance you find yourself in. Paul’s letter may just be what God wants you to hear during this season of fear and uncertainty. Paul knew that the best way to persevere through trial and suffering, was to turn to the one whose suffering brought salvation. The one who went to the cross, endured the punishment we deserved, died the death we should have died, and rose from the grave conquering sin and death so that we might know him. Because when you know him, everything else in comparison, is worthless. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. (Philippians 4:23)