Philippians / chapter 3 (read the chapter)
Paul leaves nothing to be questioned in this chapter regarding his full conversion from law-keeping Jew to faith-abiding Christian: “I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 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 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.” (vs 5-9)
In the midst of that discourse on law versus faith, Paul made a game-changing declaration: “Everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus.” What he’s saying is that being made right with God has nothing to do with what we do and everything to do with who we know.
In other words, it’s not about you. It never has been.
It’s all about God.
This makes perfect sense when you think back to the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve’s fall into sin. We usually think that what went wrong there was something Adam and Eve did—i.e., they ate the fruit. But actually, what went wrong there was about not knowing who God was—i.e., they bought into the lies about God told to them by the serpent at the tree.
The serpent told Eve that God was a liar, a manipulator, and a power-hungry authoritarian. The serpent told Eve that she could gain the upper hand on God by eating the fruit. Thus, the only reason Eve took that fruit and ate it was because she bought into those lies about God. If she had trusted God, if she had known who He really was, she never would have eaten the fruit.
There is a lot we can do to modify our behavior temporarily, it’s true. But at the end of the day, we subconsciously behave according to what we believe. That’s why, at the end of the day, God isn’t looking to change our behavior. He’s looking to change the beliefs about Him that we are holding in our hearts and minds.
That’s why Paul said that knowing Christ was priceless, infinitely valuable. If we don’t know the truth about Him, all the correct behavior we can muster won’t mean a thing. And if we do know the truth about Him, our behavior will eventually match up with those beliefs.
God is priceless, and that means that knowing Him is also priceless. If we want to live full lives, if we want to do good in the world, if we want faith that can move mountains, then the only thing we should be doing is putting every ounce of energy we have into getting to know Him better.
Think about it.