“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” goes the old saying. But it’s equally true to say, “One man’s treasure is another man’s trash.”
We often treasure a good reputation, for instance. We want people to think highly of us. We want to be evaluated by our public persona, our outward acts of goodness, our abilities, our intellect, or our own righteousness.
As a former Pharisee, Paul certainly would have related to this self-actualized approach to life. In fact, such things had at one time been the apostle’s treasure.
But then Paul encountered Christ. He discovered how broken the Pharisee’s system of work-righteousness was, when compared to the grace and mercy of God. And he immediately recognized that he had to trash his old belief system and his former way of life.
Our true treasure is the righteousness of Christ — the righteousness that comes by faith. To toss our own righteousness in the dumpster and gain Christ is the only way to a restored relationship with God.
This is the very heart of the gospel, and the key to finding true peace. We can stop all the striving. We can forget about trying to bridge the gap sin creates by our own power or initiative. How ironic that our goodness gets in the way of our relationship with God just as easily as our sin does!
We have the joy of knowing that Jesus has already done it all. We can throw everything else out — our goodness as well as our sins — and simply focus on treasuring Jesus.
“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” (Philippians 3:7-9, NIV).
Lord, give me the discernment and grant me the strength, so that my spiritual trash never gets in the way of my true treasure, Jesus!
Our Bible reading for Friday, October 2, is Jeremiah 4:10 – 5:31, Philippians 3:1 – 4:1 and Psalm 116:1-11.
Header image based on "Escaped Souls" by Kurt Bauschardt, CC By-SA 2.0