We live in a world obsessed with success.
Blaring messages of perfection and so-called true satisfaction beckon to us. Magazine covers and Pinterest offer us the steps to obtaining the perfect job, a more attractive body, an organized home, or a compatible significant other. Taunting images flash up with ways we can improve our situation to gain the next piece in our success puzzle.
And then we have Saint Paul, who writes and equates the gains of this world to garbage. In his letter to the Philippians, he tells of how all that gain he had in the world, he now counts as loss. He does this in order to “Gain Christ,” but what does this even mean?
Knowing a bit of Saint Paul’s back story prior to his radical conversion on the road to Damascus helps us a little with understanding where he’s coming from. Born in Tarsus, Paul was brought up as a faithful Jew. He was sent when very young to be taught by the greatest teacher of his age, and then as a grown man, became a Pharisee who held fast to the teachings of Jewish law and traditions. Gained by his ancestors, Saint Paul also held citizenship to Rome, which offered him special rights and protections, a privilege which the common man at the time did not have. At the time of his conversion, Saint Paul was living life well. He was on the culture of his time’s “road to success.”
Typically my thought when gaining something turns my focus to myself and what I’m getting out of it. How I will feel. What it will improve in my life. In Christ, we have a new value system to measure our success by. In our striving, our motivation and our prize are to be Christ.
As the source of our faith, Christ offers us the belief in Himself. What we seek to attain, eternal life and freedom from sin, He has already gained. He never leaves us and will walk with us through our struggles to gain Truth. We are justified before the Father as we look to the examples Christ gave us while he walked and lived as a man on earth. And forever in our sight is our future gain as we aim for Heaven.
There is endless richness to be found in gaining Christ, sweet sisters. “Seek His presence continually” as our Psalmist reminds us.
Today as you move throughout the temptations of success and gain that this world offers, aim higher still. Spend a moment here and there contemplating what your life would look like if each action in your day was in pursuit of attaining Christ. Of how you would treat those around you if you saw Christ in them and knew your mutual goal was to spur one another heavenward.
Set your goal on gaining Christ.
Sarah Ortiz is a Catholic convert, and when not folding laundry, she can be found reading, experimenting in the kitchen, or writing at her blog. You can find out more about her here.