1Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord.
To write the same things to you is not troublesome to me, and for you it is a safeguard.
2Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh! 3For it is we who are the circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh — 4even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh.
If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.
7Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
For all his intellectual power and fiery disposition, Paul, is at bottom, a lover of Jesus. And Paul does not shy away from expressing that love and through his example he's telling us that we are called to be expressive lovers of Jesus as well.
At the core of being a lover is appreciation, a deep valuing of the goodness, love, and beauty of the other. Loving someone with any depth cannot come about without this sincere valuing of the worth of the beloved. And the deepening of this sense of worth is based on greater knowledge: the more you know someone well, the more you love that someone with greater texture and understanding. There's a vast difference between someone you know as an acquaintance versus someone who is your best friend.
For this short devotional, I simply commend you to love Jesus better by getting to know Him deeper.
Let's pray: Father God, we pray for the passionate, appreciative love that was found in the Apostle Paul for Jesus in ourselves, that we, like Paul, would say that compared to anything and everything in the world, we would consider them all of no great value to knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. May our love for Christ grow stronger, deeper, and wider as we get to know Him more each day. In Christ's name, amen.