The Wilderness of Counting All As Loss

May 23, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

The wilderness is painful and suffering, but worth it. It is the only way to seek His face. Though this place is not comfortable, and requires a sting of denying the appetites of the flesh, it is fueled only by love and desire. In Luke 4, Satan comes to Jesus as He is in the wilderness and tempts him offering him leadership and domain without going through tribulation. In holy humility and meekness, Jesus chose the tribulation, He chose the wilderness, He chose the suffering, He chose the counting all as loss for the sake of... us.

The wilderness is the embracing of the cross. Paul said in Philippians 3, "I count all things as loss for the excellence of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord." Paul counted everything as rubbish, for the soul reason that He could gain Christ. The wilderness is the counting all as loss. How do we get here? How do we walk out the forsaking of all from the heart and it not be just mere language of the mouth?
 

  1. Paul goes on to explain that we find ourselves in Him by righteousness, not our own righteousness or the works that we deem right in our own eyes, but only righteousness through faith in Jesus. It is the believing that we have nothing to offer and it's only His strength, nothing out of ourselves (v9). 
  2.  He also explains that the knowledge of Him through the counting of all as loss comes through the fellowship of His sufferings and being conformed to His death. We see the beauty of His worth by embracing the cross, saying yes to the wilderness and saying no the appetites of the flesh that rage our body. We die with Him, so that we might also live with Him (v10-11).
  3. It is the pressing of our hearts and the choosing of His way rather than our own, the laying hold of the Prize of Life and true delight (v12). We do this by forgetting the past and reaching for what lies ahead forgetting our past sins and evil ways and throwing ourselves in His mercy. We cast all our shame and letting Him sustain us (v13).
  4. We recognize and believe that our citizenship is not in this earth, but our citizenship is in heaven. We set our hope in the new city to come. We set our hope in His restoration of all things and His knitting and conforming of ourselves to His nature and glory (v20-21).
What are we doing when we don't count all things as loss for the sake of knowing Him? Paul explains that those who do not count all as rubbish for the knowledge of Christ are seemingly enemies of the cross. Enemies of the cross, those words just sting. The Lord is calling forth a people that would conform themselves to the cross. Knitting their lives to the denying of the flesh and the following of the Lamb. Ones who do not count all as loss are...
  1. Ones whose end is destruction. They give themselves to sin and rebellion that ultimately leads to death.
  2. One whose god is their belly. They constantly fill and respond to their appetites. They worship their own flesh and cravings. They give themselves over to self-indulgence.
  3. Ones who glory is in their shame. They dwell on things on the past and do not reach for what lies ahead. 
  4. Ones who set their minds on earthly things. They walk as fools with their eyes only set on the fading pleasures of the world (v19).

He did indeed come that we might have life to the fullest, but we must understand that the gate is narrow. Selfish clingings, lukewarm love, and tamed obedience are in direct opposition to the boundless life of God within us. The wilderness is the fleeing of the these things and the finding of the abundant life in Jesus and the only way to do this is the counting all as loss...

 



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