But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. Philippians 3:7&8
The law from your mouth is more precious to me
than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. Psalm 119:72
Knowing Christ is a great thing. That is easy to say but challenging to live. Just how great is it? Taken at face value, Paul’s words in Philippians are stunning. So is the verse from Psalm 119. Nothing compares to knowing Christ and loving his words. These are two themes from the Gospels that are often missed, and they are crucial to your parenting. Let’s look at each of them.
Paul’s comments in Philippians are self-disclosure. He reveals what drives him as a person. The literary “feel” of chapters 2 and 3 is intense. Paul says that nothing even compares to knowing Christ. This is the same intensity we hear in the parable Christ tells in Matthew 13:44 about the kingdom of heaven and the treasure in a field.
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field (Matthew 13:44).
When the man found the treasure he immediately and joyfully sold all he had so that he could purchase the field with its treasure. The things which at one moment were all of his earthly possessions were dispatched in a heartbeat. His values changed instantly. While we don’t necessarily have to sell all that we have to know Christ, we should be willing to. Paul was willing. In Philippians, he says he had given up everything to know Christ. His life overflowed with the joy of that choice. He didn’t give up his respected position of religious leadership and then look back and moan over his loss of prestige. Like the man who bought the field, Paul considered knowing Christ the greatest of all treasures.
What do your children think is your greatest treasure? Would they say it is knowing Christ, based on the way that you talk and the things that you buy for them and for yourself? Are you so conscious of the grace given to you by Christ that those closest to you see you overwhelmed with the mercy of Christ? Paul writes as someone who is aware of Christ each minute of each day. Paul didn’t live in a monastery. He lived life just as you do, in the middle of a secular, needs-driven world that cares little for the Living God. But through all of this, Paul was most conscious, most self-aware, of Jesus Christ. He knew that Christ was Lord of Heaven and Earth. He knew that his life was lived continuously in the presence of King Jesus, and he delighted in this reality. This is the same reality that God calls you to show to your children.
Knowing Christ this Christmas season is the greatest gift that you can give to your children. It is a better gift than things that you can wrap. You can still give those presents, of course, but the most wonderful gift you can give is the witness of your love for Christ. Invest some time in this gift--it doesn't just happen randomly. Spend time in the Word, and spend time in meditation on the love of Christ. Pray for the eyes of your heart to be opened to the joy of your salvation.
These are times of political uncertainty and economic fears. But these are also times to be blown away by the awesome joy of knowing the One who rules over all of these things. Jesus Christ is our life.
In the next post we will look at how the words of Christ should be our most valued possession.