But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ - yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

In the verses before this, Paul talked about all of the earthly achievements he had attained. Paul counters in these verses by saying that he considers all of the achievements as worthless in comparison to knowing Christ. Paul continues to contrast the the pursuit of righteousness from self and the pursuit of righteousness that is given by Christ. Righteousness in Christ is received by faith and not by the law. In saying all of this, Paul is mainly making the point that knowing Christ is of infinite worth.

If you weren't able to read verses 1-6 of this chapter, go back and read them again. Paul had it all from the world's point of view, but he is still saying that it is garbage! His experience in getting to know God was such that it changed his perspective on what was good. It's good to recognize that Paul wasn't making more requirements for us to follow. His pursuit of Christ was not one out of obligation. Instead, the more Paul pursued Christ, the more he wanted to continue that pursuit. Paul experienced freedom by knowing Christ. He no longer was following rules, but he was able to seek and know God.

Paul said that he had not yet received the prize. Sometimes it can be clearer that we haven't yet experienced total freedom or that we don't completely know God yet. Other times, we can feel comfortable about where we are at. I think it is important in either case to understand that we have not yet received the prize because that means there is more for us (Hallelujah!). There is more of God to know, more freedom to be experienced, and more righteousness to walk in. So may we forget what's behind and fix our eyes on the more we have in store for us ahead!

God, I thank you that you are worth knowing. I pray that you reveal to me more of who you are, and that I can respond in a way that agrees with that. I pray that I am continually reminded of how good you are, and that I can begin to better understand your infinite worth. I love you, and thank you for what you mean to me. Amen.

- Daniel Bailey