"But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ." (Philippians 3:7-8)
During the three verses prior to the text for today, Paul had listed some of the rather spectacular credits he had obtained "in the flesh" (Philippians 3:4). His family lineage and achievements were both professionally stellar and legally blameless. He had every right to be proud of himself.
Yet, in strong language, Paul values these personal achievements as the excrement of animals when he compares the gain of being given "the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Philippians 3:9). A vivid contrast indeed!
Jesus taught that if anyone would become His disciple, then he must "deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Mark 8:34). Further, such a disciple must "lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s" (Mark 8:35). Owning the whole world was worthless if it meant that the price would cause one to "lose his own soul" (Mark 8:36). Hard bargains indeed!
Paul sought, as each of us should also, "the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus" (today’s verse). Invoking all of the triune Godhead, Paul begged for comprehension of the "love of Christ, which passeth knowledge," so that he can be "filled with all the fulness of God" (Ephesians 3:18-19). Such knowledge brings "full assurance of understanding" (Colossians 2:2). That is a good return indeed!
"Wherefore beloved," Peter said, "be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." (2 Peter 3:14). HMM III