“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,” (Phil. 3:8)
I have been speaking with a man who served in the military for nearly thirty years, in fact, he can tell you the exact number of years, months, days and to the minute the time he served. He has shown me photos of when we was in his finest physical form, of the numerous medals he earned, and I have listened and conversed with him, injecting Scripture verses at the appropriate time, attempting to lead him to the cross.
But he is unwilling to count the majority of his life yet as dung.
“To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1st Cor. 9:22)
One cannot meet such a person, or any person for that matter, and begin the conversation by informing them that the majority of their life has been completely wasted and has availed them absolutely nothing towards the glory of God, that not one good work or valiant deed will be counted in their favor on their day of accounting. But, sooner or later, the truth in this area must be broached.
Paul had one mission in his life after the Lord met him on the road to Damascus, to tell everyone he met about the Lord Jesus Christ, the Hebrew of the Hebrews, of the tribe of Benjamin counted every moment of his life before Christ as a waste of time, of a large part of his life as useless. An extremely difficult pill for anyone to swallow, for many of us have applied ourselves diligently to all that we have attempted to attain, allowing pride as we did so to subtly deceive us into believing that all we have accomplished was worthy and honorable.
For pride to reach that point, we must do the inverse of Philippians 2:3, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” We must believe ourselves better than many of our fellow men.
There is always someone faster, stronger, more learned than we are, and they also fall into that trap of pride. “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18)
The man I am speaking with does not resemble the young man he has shown me in the photos, he is close to sixty years of age now, and could not perform the most basic feats he once did, his medals and awards will gather dust as time goes on, and when he dies, they will he handed down probably to his children. His name along with all his deeds and accomplishments will be forgotten by all.
As will yours, if they are not done for the glory of God.
I can vaguely recall the day I threw all my medals, awards and papers of recognition for accomplishments into the trash, the day I truly began in all earnest and with much prayer and supplication asking the Lord to kill that selfish, self-centered pride within me, to help me to truly start hating the world and all it has attempted to and continues to try to draw me into that which I am commanded to hate. I am being taught that all it has to offer is indeed vanity and vexation of Spirit.
My name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life because by His grace He has saved me from my sins, and I have no desire to dishonor His name by lifting myself up above Him.
It is a hard lesson, to be taught, that nothing we have accomplished apart from the will of God and for His glory alone will be counted in our favor.
I pray this man will hear that truth, as well as you who are reading this will, if pride still has a grip in your life.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)