“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8)
The apostle Paul had plenty of reasons to have confidence in the flesh. He says as much, “circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews, as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless” (Philippians 3:5-6). Paul was going places. Having everything seemingly required for advancement, it’s no telling where his Jewish pedigree might have taken him. But everything had changed on that road to Damascus, and when we find Paul writing in Philippians, his priorities had long ago shifted. No longer was his chief concern on how to keep the law, but instead on proclaiming that righteousness came only by faith, that Christ fulfilled the laws demands on the cross.
I imagine there were many spoils that went along with being such a prominent person in the Jewish community; power, prestige, opportunity and praise. But once changed by the gospel, what Paul once would have looked forward to and considered gain, he now counted as loss for the sake of knowing Christ. “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses himself?” (Luke 9:25) The gospel demands our allegiance. Ours is a call to follow Christ above all things. It may be hard given the spoils this world offers. It may be hard having to forgo power, prestige, opportunity and praise, but in the end, to forsake Christ for those things, or for that matter, anything, will never be worth it. Remember, Jesus is better!