The apostle Paul stated, “but one thing I do...” (Phlp. 3:13). In this chapter, Paul talked about himself. He listed something of his heritage in vs. 4-6. He noted that, from a purely physical perspective, he had excellent credentials. He could trace his bloodline back to the tribe of Benjamin, and that bloodline was pure, his being a Hebrew born of Hebrew parents. As far as his spiritual credentials were concerned, as they appeared on the surface, his were most impressive. He was a Pharisee, meticulous in keeping the law of Moses and zealous enough in his dedication to that law as to be an aggressive persecutor of the church.
But in vs. 7 Paul said something that would seem strange to many, in light of what he had just noted about himself. He stated, “But what things were gain to me, I have counted loss for Christ.” He had just finished giving an impressive list of credentials that would naturally bring him great respect, even admiration, among his fellow Jews. But he gave all of that up, he counted those markers of his heritage as “loss.” Next he identified Jesus Christ as the reason for counting his heritage as loss. He gave up what he had been in order to be in Christ Jesus (vs. 14). Yet, he already stated that he had been a persecutor of the church which Christ established. How odd that something which he had been zealous to oppose and persecute would now become so cherished by him as to motivate a complete turnabout in his life.
That is the magnitude of importance to be right with the Lord. In the next few verses Paul went into some detail explaining that he had come to realize that nothing is important without Christ in his life and that he had to give up some things in his life in order to give Christ His rightful place therein. When he finally came to realize the truth, Paul understood that many of the things he had thought were so important were actually inconsequential. Getting to Heaven is all that matters, and a person can only get to Heaven through Jesus Christ (Jn. 14:6).
So, Paul took on a new singular focus in his life, that of serving his Lord and getting to Heaven. That is the “one thing” to which he referred in vs. 13. “One” thing. Everything else is secondary. Everything else is subservient to that ultimate goal. Nothing else is as important as living in such a way as to be assured of an eternal home in Heaven.
Each one of us today needs to reflect upon his own life to see if he has learned and applied the lesson that Paul taught in this context of scripture. Does your life reflect this singular goal, getting to Heaven? Do you let anything get in the way of your achieving this goal? Is your dedication to Christ total and absolute?
If you were writing scripture today, and using your life as an illustration, could you truthfully say, as to your commitment to live in such a way as to be assured of being in Heaven for eternity, this “one thing I do.”? If not, it is time to turn your life around, just as Paul did his. Give up your life to Jesus Christ. We’d love to help you learn how through God’s word. Just ask us...
Gary L. Hutchens