Online Bible Commentary
How Do You Determine Your Worth?
Philippians 3:4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith. (NKJV)
Paul wrote this letter to the Church at Philippi in Macedonia, which is now northern Greece. It is thought that he wrote this during his first Roman imprisonment when he was under house arrest.
The time of the writing is about 62 A.D. Epaphroditus visited him in prison and Paul sent this letter back with him to deliver it to the church.
At the time of Paul’s letter, Philippi was a principal city. Paul established the church on his second missionary journey.
Philippi was abandoned in the fourteenth century after the Ottoman conquest. The current city of Fillipoi is located near the ruins of Philippi.
The church at Philippi was the first known church in all of Europe and it supported Paul financially. In many ways it was a model church.
In the previous passage , Paul ended by writing that Christians “rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (v. 3). He then begins this passage by writing “though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so” (v. 4).
He is saying that if anyone should have confidence in religious matters it would be himself. He then cites his lofty credentials as a Jew by birth.
Paul writes “circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee” (v. 5). He writes of how he determined his worth prior to becoming a follower of Jesus Christ. He was at the top of his field, a very religious man, the Pharisee of Pharisees.
He continues “concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (v. 6). He had been the best of the Pharisees at persecuting Christians, and he was proud of what he had achieved in carrying out the Jewish law.
But then he had the experience of God’s judgment when he was struck down and temporarily blinded by God on the road to Damascus. His whole life changed after that experience. He found his worth by devoting himself to Jesus.
He writes “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ” (v. 7). The benefits of his previous status and his high place in Jewish society were all given up “for Christ”.
Paul continues “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (v. 8). Paul lost much in making the decision to follow Christ, including friends, family, his high position in the religious order, and finances.
However, he considered all of that to be garbage in comparison to what he gained through following Christ. He had no regrets in giving up his previous lifestyle, because it was garbage, worthless, compared to his new life in Christ.
Paul continues “and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law” (v. 9a). He lost what we might call self-righteousness. His high standing in the community and with the religious leaders had given him a false sense of worth, that which comes from the world.
The Apostle concludes this passage by writing “but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (v. 9b). Paul traded self- righteousness for the righteousness of Christ.
So, Paul gained much more than he lost. He lost self righteousness and gained the righteousness of God, the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
He found a new way to live life, a way that gained for him the righteousness of God. He became “a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17), a child of God. His worth was now defined by God, and not man.
People have many different ways to determine their worth, but God has only one way. His way is the best way, the only way that counts eternally. His way starts with making the decision to be a Christ follower, a Christian.
Making the decision to follow Christ means turning over your heart to Him. When you do that, He changes your heart by changing the things you want to do.
In the beginning it feels like you are giving up a lot, but as God works on you, He changes your “want to’s”. You no longer want to do the things you used to do, so it does not feel like you have lost anything.
It is not a matter of giving up things, but growing up. You no longer feel pressured to live up to the standards of the world.
The more Christ-like you become the more worth you have in the eyes of God. God blesses what He sees as valuable.
His idea of value is different than all the ways that the world perceives value. When you make God the boss of your life, you will be worth more than anything in the eyes of the only one who counts, God.