In the previous post I wrote about giving up our treasures because we have found a greater treasure. In this post I want to expand a bit on that using Paul's example from the 3rd chapter of Philippians. Here Paul is talking about people who are trying to convince the church that they must be circumcised. Paul lists his credentials for speaking on this matter.
If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, 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 and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.>
Similar to the rich young ruler, Paul had great wealth and influence in that things that mattered to what he was doing. He could have used his position as a member of the tribe of Benjamin, a Pharisee, his history of zeal, and his faithfulness to the law as a powerful tool in speaking against those who preached circumcision. He had everything he needed at his disposal to win this type of debate, to prove that his voice and ideas should be respected. He had a past and history that could be very profitable in changing how people think and to help them understand how the law pointed to this new covenant.
But he found a greater treasure and gladly counted all that could have been gain as loss, as rubbish or dung. He traded in all his treasures and influence to know Jesus, to fellowship in his sufferings, become like him in his death, and to share in his resurrection. And in the process ended up with something far more influential; sharing how to die to all that was gain so he could know Jesus. That is real power. That is the power of the kingdom of God. That changes people.
Sometimes a person with a lot of influence will become a Christian, for example someone who is famous. Other Christians often get excited thinking that this person can do a lot for God because of all of his or her influence over others. That's not kingdom thinking. Abandoning the treasure of influence for a greater treasure is kingdom thinking.