But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.…
The life which we owe to Christ and hold in Christ we are bound by the strongest claims to use for Christ. Life is a thing to be used. And if you admit that it was once forfeited, but that Christ has bought it back for you by His death, and that you keep it only by your connection with Him, then you hold it on false pretences if you use it in any other way but for Him. There are two ways in which "life for Christ" may be understood.
(1) In order to obtain Him — "that I may win Christ," i.e., finally enjoy Him; or(2) as the Master puts it, "for My sake." We take it in the latter sense. A man may live a very good life — he may have a natural tendency towards it, or a conscientious feeling may lead him to it; but all the while he may fall short of this — that it is not for Christ. The motive is diluted by worldly motives and is very feeble, while God measures everything by the loving standard of the one motive — was it for Christ? This life for Christ —
I. MUST NOT BE AN UNCERTAIN THING. Taken up and laid down at pleasure, by fits and starts, remembered and forgotten, but must be the result of deep conviction. To this end —
1. Consecrate your life to Christ in the most express and solemn way you can, on your knees. Lay the sacrifice upon the altar. Invest it with the sacredness of an irrevocable pledge.
2. Renew that act of self-dedication at not very long intervals.
3. Write it on everything you have and are, body, soul, time, talents, business, family, etc.
II. MUST ENTER INTO YOUR TRIALS. When you are in bodily or mental distress, and when you are going through the discipline of bitter daily friction, think thus — "I will sanctify and ennoble this suffering by bearing it for Christ." He bore much more for me, and these are the "marks of the Lord Jesus" now laid upon me.
III. MUST EATER INTO YOUR HAPPINESS. Christ is happy in your happiness and for His sake you must be happy: and your happiness must not fail to make others happy.
IV. MUST BE A LIFE OF MINISTRY.
1. In defence of Christ.
2. In the extension of His cause.
3. In having some positive work to do for Him.
(J. Vaughan, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.