The apostle Paul stated, “but one thing I do...” (Phlp. 3:13). In this chapter, Paul talked about himself in order to illustrate his point. From a perspective of bloodline and heritage, he had excellent credentials. He could trace his bloodline back to the tribe of Benjamin. His bloodline was pure, being a Hebrew born of Hebrew parents. On the surface, his spiritual credentials also appeared most impressive. He was a Pharisee, meticulous in keeping the law of Moses and zealous enough to be an aggressive persecutor of the church (vs. 4-6).
But Paul went on to say something that might seem strange in light of what he had just noted about himself. He said, “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ” (vs. 7). He just finished giving an impressive list of credentials that would naturally bring him great respect, even admiration, among many of his fellow Jews. Now he says he gives all of that up, counts all of those things “loss.” He identifies Christ as the reason for so doing. Yet, as he already stated, he had zealously persecuted the church which Jesus Christ established. How odd that something which he had so zealously opposed and persecuted 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 came to realize that nothing is important without Christ, and he had to give up some things in order to give Christ His rightful place in his life. When he finally came to realize the truth, Paul understood that many of the things he 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 life: serving his Lord and getting to Heaven! That is the “one thing” to which Paul referred in vs. 13. “One” thing. Everything else is secondary, subservient to achieving 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 of us today needs to reflect upon his own life to see if we have learned and applied the lesson that Paul taught in this context of scripture. Does your life reflect this singular goal of getting to Heaven? Are you letting anything get in your way in 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 describe your commitment to get to Heaven by the phrase, “one thing I do”? If not, it’s time to turn your life around just as Paul did his. Give up your life to Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:20). We’d love to help you learn how to properly do that through God’s word. Just ask us...
Gary L. Hutchens