NOTHING BUT JESUS
“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” Philippians 3:8
What does the Apostle Paul really mean when he radically says, “I count all things loss, suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish?” And what does he really mean by, “I may gain Christ?” These are the words that have really begun to stir up my understanding for adequate spiritual and biblical answers.
I do not know how you feel but I am actively trying to make it my aim in life to become an aroma before God (2 Cor 2:15). I have decided purposefully to please Him with every thought, intention and action that I undertake in my witness and mission before the world. It is my aim in this exposé to breakdown the apostle’s thought pattern as to discern what the Spirit of Scripture (2 Tim 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12, NKJV) is actually trying to convey to us. The Holy Spirit is beckoning each of us into an exciting spiritual journey, riveted with supernatural experiences and gaining a fore taste of the manifest Kingdom to come.
However, Paul’s words are so radical, so powerful that if they are fully comprehended by the individual (which by means of implication will lead to action) we will see a whole generation transformed by the outpouring of a completely yielded life before God. Having stated that, we are living in an aeon (age), even though it is the ‘Dispensation of Grace’, where the increase of wickedness is becoming unparalleled in human history and the love of many toward the things of God are waxing cold (Matt 24:12, NKJV). This is the ‘Laodicean Church’ evolving and mutating into its full prophetic fruition of becoming completely leavened with ‘pharisaical doctrine’ (Rev 3:14-22; Matt 12:33).
This is the definition of pharisaical according to the Free Dictionary: excessively or hypocritically pious; "a sickening sanctimonious smile, holier-than-thou, pharisaic, sanctimonious or a self-righteous showing.”
The Bible explicitly reveals to us in multiple places what the ‘Church’ is going to look like in the last days of this age as God’s sacred curtains swiftly draw to a climatic crescendo on the allotted 6000 prophetic years of ‘Man’s Day’ (Matt 13; Rev 3; Gen 1:1-2:17; 2 Pet 3:8). The Key mistake many students of end-time prophecy make, is that they look solely at the state of the world, but Scripture has volumes to say about the decaying state of ‘Christendom’ as that awesome and terrifying ‘Day’ draws rapidly near (Titus 1:16; 2 Cor 5:9-11).
This is the somber backdrop to Paul’s message to the Philippian believers in the 1st century Church. This is what Philippians 3:1-4 says, “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so.”
Let’s take a closer look at what the Apostle is trying to convey for our spiritual benefit:
This was not the first time Paul had revealed these truths, they were spiritually vital to the Philippians’ holistic well-being. His writings were designed to bring security – safety to their lives.
He then goes on to use extremely harsh words of warning against men that equate to vicious dogs. These were evil men disguised or cloaked as workers of righteousness but in reality, were nothing but ‘pharisaical’ hypocrites who practiced in Paul’s mind, mutilation!
He tells the Philippian Church that the Christian (Jn 3:3; 2 Cor 5:17) is the ‘real circumcision’, who should worship God in Spirit and truth (Jn 4:23-24) and most importantly have no confidence in their fallen nature – the flesh.
Paul tells us, it is indeed possible to have confidence in your fallen nature (Rom 8:5-11). He goes on to express to us that he could brag about what he had achieved through his flesh (fallen nature).
The Bible is a continuous work of repetition in many aspects, as it is God’s divine process through which the Holy Spirit painstakingly weans us off milk and moves us onto the mature meat of doctrine (1 Peter 2:2; Hebrews 5:12). Time and time again, the Holy Spirit takes us around the proverbial mountain until we conscientiously learn the spiritual lesson designed by God to bring us into maturity and realization of our High calling in Christ (Deut 1:6). [Click here to read my article on the ‘Divine Experiment’ for better understanding on how God brings us into maturity as First-Born-Sons.]
Paul quickly shifts into another spiritual gear and renders to us, the reader, a dire warning against men that are given to diabolical works within the superstructure of ‘Mephistophelian Christendom’ (Matt 13:4, Matt 13:32). [There is a great misconception when it comes to correctly understanding the Parable of the Mustard Seed in Matthew 13. Most interpretations render the parable in a positive form but in actuality is demonically negative in scope. In fact, Jesus Himself gives us the answer to who the birds who are in the same chapter in the Parable of the Seed Sower in verse four and nineteen. The birds in the Parable of the Seed Sower are Satan and his fallen angels. Therefore, our Master gives us the correct interpretation of the Parable of the Mustard Seed Himself – Satan and his fallen angels live and are actively involved in the unnatural growth of the tree that symbolizes all of Christendom, especially after the historical merger of Church and State (Roman Catholicism) under the Roman Emperor Constantine]. (Please note that Christendom and Christianity stand diametrically opposed to one another).
We are to be aware of vicious dogs (men in Satan’s service) that are used by the kingdom of darkness to sow evil (Matt 13:24-30) and exercise the demonically induced practice of spiritual mutilation. The Apostle Paul is extremely sarcastic when he writes about ‘dogs’ who take great pleasure in the mutilation of people’s spiritual lives. Paul uses the Greek word “katatomē” which means to cut up or mutilate, according to Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon. In fact, a few theologians believe the word “katatomē” literally means to castrate. There are people out there that will attempt to castrate you spiritually if you allow them. Beware of the vicious dogs.
This is what 2 Corinthians 11:13 states, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.” This is what the apostle fought against his whole life. In fact, he goes on to warn the Galatian believers with these words found in Galatians 3:1-5, “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
Let’s dissect these passages:
Rabid men had invaded the Galatian church with the purpose of destroying the beauty and simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They wanted to mutilate the work of the Holy Spirit which Paul had founded upon grace (Phil 3:2).
Today, many people are being fooled into believing and obeying something other than the simple truth that is found only in the finished work of Jesus.
Many (ravenous dogs) would have us believe that we obtain salvation, right standing with God and receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law (the ministry of death, see 2 Cor 3:7).
It is only by faith in Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection (1 Cor 15:3-4) that we can receive and become partakers of His divine nature (2 Pet 1:2-4).
Anything that is not born out of faith (Rom 10:17) and rooted in what Christ established through His work on the cross is sin (Rom 14:23).
Walking out a continuous supernatural life in the Spirit is contingent on a life of faith toward what God has revealed through His Son in scripture (Gal 5:25).
Choosing to operate out of the fallen nature is foolish, trying to obey the law through the flesh amplifies sin (Rom 5:20). Grace, through simplistic faith in Jesus is the only way to overcome sin (Col 1:27). This is what the Galatians had turned from through believing the lie of warped theology.
Jesus is the One that supplies you with the Spirit, grace and anointing to walk in the Spirit with signs, miracles and wonders following your life (see 2 Cor 1:21; 1 John 2:27; Matt 3:11; John 14:12-17; Mk 16:17-20). Don’t let men that want to mutilate your faith have access to your life. Do not entertain them!
This is what Psalm 22:20 is trying to emphatically teach us, “Deliver Me from the sword, My precious life from the power of the dog.” This is a prophetic scripture pointing to how evil men operating out of their fallen natures were consumed by the law to kill Jesus – the Prince of Glory. Scripture teaches us that the letter kills but the Spirit brings life (2 Cor 3:4-6). There are many in the Church today that have gone in the way of the Pharisees and Sadducees. They have succumbed to Satan through the flesh and operate in the power of the dog!
Look what Matthew 26:59 says, “Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death” (see also Matthew 27:20; Mark 14:55). This is what they tried to do to Jesus who was the embodiment of grace and truth (John 1:17). Satan has not changed his strategy one bit (John 10:10). There are men today operating under the guise of Christendom but in reality, are purposefully propagating the same deception the Galatian church fell for – being led by dogs, who propagated the law through their fallen natures.
These are the spiritually illuminating words of our Lord and Master, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’”
Jesus made sure we would know what we were up against. Let’s take a closer look:
You are born of God, that’s why the world is going to hate you. It cannot tolerate ‘truth & grace’.
You are not of this world. You no longer are a slave to Satan. You have been uniquely chosen (1 Pet 2:9-10) and don’t love the things of this world any longer (1 John 2:15-17), therefore you have become its enemy.
The moment anyone stands for ‘truth and grace’ in its correct form – will suffer persecution.
The world through Satan does these things because they have no relationship with the Father.
Their sin remains because they hate Jesus, thus proving their allegiance to Satan. All men are either serving Jesus or Satan, there is no middle ground (see Matt 12:30).
Their hate for the ‘Trinity’ has even been prophetically written in their law.
Paul’s whole ministry was focused on preaching two very different aspects of the same Gospel. The simple Gospel of grace to sinners that leads to salvation (Eph 2:8; Rom 10:1; Acts 16:30-31) and then the Gospel of Glory (1 Cor 9:24-27; Phil 2:12-13; Phil 3:12-14; Rev 2-3) to the saved that leads to a successful overcoming at the ‘Bema Seat of Christ’ (2 Cor 5:9-11), which in turn leads to the individual becoming a ‘First-Born-Son’ (Rom 8:23-24; Heb 2:10) with primogeniture status of serving in a governmental capacity in the soon coming Kingdom of our Lord (Rev 20:1-15).
This is why he so passionately writes these words found in Galatians 5:1-7, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. 7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?”
This is the crux and basic foundation on which all of Christianity is built. What is Paul really saying?
We are to stand firmly rooted in the freedom of a life lived out in Christ (see Gal 2:20).
Do not become a slave to the law again through sin (Rom 6:1-23; Gal 3:13).
The teaching of physical circumcision which is the embodiment of obeying the law is useless (see Acts 2:37-39; Phil 3:3).
You cannot please God by keeping the law (Gal 2:16; Acts 13:39; Rom 3:20). Many have thus fallen from grace.
Only faith in Jesus through love avails anything with God (Heb 10:38-39; Heb 11:6).
The supernatural key to discovering all of this is all wrapped up in the beautiful person of our Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ. We are to take heart in knowing that it is going to take a lifetime of walking in the ‘grace and Spirit’ of God to figure this all out. You can hear the desperation of the Apostle Paul when he pens these words found in Philippians 3:10-11, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.’ 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” This should be our only aim in life – to know Him. It’s in knowing Him that we can begin to comprehend the power of His resurrection and understanding what it means to walk in freedom over all the power of the enemy. Obviously, this comes with the notion of taking part in warfare which inevitably will lead to suffering in this world but if you are found faithful until the end – you will rule and reign with Him in the resurrection as a ‘king-priest’ (Rev 1:6).
I am now finally getting to the meat of what I would like to discuss in this exposé which is found in Philippians 3:3-6, “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.”
Paul tells us to have absolutely no confidence in the flesh – your fallen nature! Don’t go around boasting in what you have done through your fallen nature, it has categorically no value in the sight of the Kingdom. He in fact, insinuates that he could boast in the flesh more than anybody alive.
The Apostle Paul lists three things he could boast about in this portion of scripture:
His own vision.
If he were to boast in his flesh, he would consider his natural heritage of huge significance. Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin. Circumcised on the eighth day according to tradition (Gen 17:10-14; Lev 12:3). He was proud to be part of the Israelites to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises (Rom 9:4) but all of this meant nothing to Paul. But why? This is what he boldly states in Galatians 6:14, “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.”
Paul had come to the revelation knowledge that his earthly heritage meant absolutely nothing. Through spiritual perception he had become illuminated, finding trust and security in his earthly identity counted nothing before heaven. Paul had become a new creation (2 Cor 5:17), a son of the living God. His earthly heritage was counted as rubbish to him.
So many of us still look to, take comfort and great pride in our background and heritage according to the flesh. I was born into a Scottish/English family that grew up in a South African context. The day I became a Christian through the appointed process of experiencing undeserved supernatural grace (Eph 2:8; Rom 2:4) – I died to my earthly heritage. The lineage I inherited through my biological parents has become irrelevant to me. This is one of the greatest hinderances in the ‘Body of Christ’ today – professing Christians who are still patriotic to their national heritage according to the flesh. Jesus our Lord emphatically states, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Matthew 14:26-33).
It does not matter who you are or where you come from, allegiance to Jesus Christ and His purposes are paramount for anyone that is relentlessly running after a crown (a governmental position in His Millennial reign). The New Testament categorically teaches that a disciple of Christ is to embrace Kingdom culture. The only heritage a disciple of Christ should entertain is a heavenly one. Take a look at how radical the idea of Kingdom culture really is, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26-29).
As a son or daughter of God (a completely new creation) you have supernaturally been baptized into a new family that does not recognize nationality, creed or human culture according to the flesh. This is why it’s possible for me to have lived for twenty years as a missionary in the heart of Africa. I am spiritually color-blind. Heritage, race and nationality according to the natural order of things has become obsolete in my personal life. I am of Abraham’s seed and an heir according to the promise.
The ‘dogs’ of mutilation would have you believe that heritage, race and nationalities are worthwhile virtues and need to be guarded with patriotic allegiance. This is what Paul calls dung! This is what He says in Colossians 1:13, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” All culture outside of Christ avails nothing. In fact, through Jesus finished work on the cross, I have been delivered out from my culture and fully submerged into Kingdom culture. This is an incomprehensible work the Holy Spirit is doing in the ‘dispensation of grace’, that out of every tribe, tongue and nation, God is creating a new race, a super-race of individuals chosen out of diverse nations to be a peculiar nation of king-priests (1 Pet 2:9-10; Rev 5:9; 7:9-10). It’s time to no longer recon yourself according to your biological heritage, race or nationality. We are the ‘Church’. We are the ‘Body of Christ’. We are a special appointed race of king-priests. See yourself not according to the flesh but according to the spiritual.
There is so much hatred in the world. We face insurmountable problems regarding racial stereotyping, large scale ethnic cleansing and manipulated social engineering on a global scale. This should not frighten the Christian; this must not take us by surprise and this should definitely not cause confusion regarding loyalty toward your own individual heritage. Jesus told us that nations would rise in brutal hatred toward one another. Kingdoms would suppress each other in the name of superior heritage (Matt 24:7). The global clash of ethnicities is one of the tell-tale signs of the work of the kingdom of darkness, through extremely wicked fallen men that govern their lives according to the principle of the flesh.
The definition of a disciple is one that walks out his or her new life in love toward everyone, regardless of their natural heritage, thus showing the world that you are truly Jesus’ disciples (John 13:35).
Paul goes on to radically state in 2 Corinthians 5:14-20, “For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. 16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
This is why Paul counted his natural heritage as refuse!
The apostle counted all his arduous self-effort as rubbish in the truth and reality of the finished work of Jesus. Bringing self-effort, which emanates out of the flesh into the realm of justifiable works before God is futile and a waste of time. Zeal in its rightful place can serve God in a way that magnifies the Kingdom (Psalm 69:9) but zeal out of place leads to operating out of the flesh which is your inherent enemy (Rom 8:7). In fact, in his zeal to follow the law to the letter, he ended up killing the very thing God was establishing, the law will always lead to the killing of those that are led by the Spirit.
There are many Christians today operating out of the flesh, thinking that they are contributing to God’s plan. They think that their self-effort is praiseworthy in the sight of heaven. Just read these gut wrenching words from Jesus that put that notion to bed, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
It is possible and is happening every day within Christendom that people are trying to do God a favor by helping Him establish His Kingdom (Click here to read my article on the ‘The Supernatural Church’ for deeper understanding on the subject). There are many devout people operating in the anointing of the Holy Spirit and find themselves serving God in ministries and functions they think are pleasing to heaven but in reality, are operating out of their fallen nature – the flesh! (Rom 11:29). The flesh loves self-effort as it gives the illusion of walking in the will of God. Just look at Paul, he thought he was serving God by persecuting the ‘followers of the Way’ until he had a life-changing encounter on the road to Damascus (Acts 8:3; Acts 9:1-19; Acts 22:6-21). Self-effort is trusting in our own works rather than humbly relying on what the Spirit of Truth is trying to convey, which in turn reaps no eternal reward (1 Cor 3:12-16).
This is what the prophet Samuel had to say about the filthiness of self-effort in 1 Samuel 15:22, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.”
Basically, the prophet is relaying to us that God does not regard the works you do for Him outside of what He is personally commanding you to do! God wants your loyalty and unwavering obedience to what the Holy Spirit is leading you to do. You need to remember that you are no longer under law but under grace which has ushered in the ‘Dispensation of the Holy Spirit’. You and I are no longer allowed to do as we please. All self-effort has to give way to the leading of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:14). You also need to comprehend that you have been bought with a very expensive price – the ‘Blood of Jesus’. You are no longer your own to do what you please (Acts 20:28).
In essence, this is the foundational teaching of the New Testament which the Apostle John is trying to relate to us in his Gospel. His understanding and teaching on the ministry of the Holy Spirit are of the utmost importance to us if we are going to die to self-effort and discard the appetites of our fallen nature (John 14:16-18; 14:26; 16:7-15). Only when we cease from all self-effort and begin relying completely on the Holy Spirit will we ever enter into a place of usefulness in the Kingdom.
This is why Paul counted his self-effort as refuse!
Paul came to the imperative understanding that his own personal vision was absolute trash in the sight of Kingdom reality. In his mind’s eye, persecuting the Church of Jesus Christ was God’s will and vision for his life. Natural vision can be deceiving. It is so important to grasp the concept of downloading God’s Kingdom vision for your life. So many good-intentioned people are running after vision but in the end, it is valueless in the sight of heaven. Paul came to value the importance of Kingdom vision.
The Bible tells us in Acts 9:1-9 that he had a life-altering experience, “But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.”
Paul had to lose his natural sight in order for heaven to captivate his attention. Has the Kingdom captured your attention? There are so many people that have been struck blind and are groping around in darkness. God will not tolerate a child of His, walking in their own vision for their lives.
This is what Proverbs 29:18 boldly declares, “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint” (ESV). You and I are a prophetic people; therefore, we have the ability to see what God wants us to do and the capability of getting it done in the power of the anointing. Kingdom revelation is paramount if you and I are going to operate in the supernatural power of God.
This is how the rest of the story unfolds, “10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened” (ESV).
You are a chosen instrument of the Lord. He has a specific task for you to perform (See my book Living a Supernatural Life on the Road less Traveled - Chapter 6 for more on your Kingdom Task). It is only when you see the Lord’s vision, he has for your life that you can truly step into Kingdom purpose. Revelation is found in Kingdom vision. It is only through spiritual revelation that your eyesight can be truly opened. Kingdom vision allows you to be part of and live for something greater than yourself.
There is a magnificent spiritual principle found in Habakkuk 2:2-3 that is most illuminating, “And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. 3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay” (ESV).
The prophet gives us a formula for understanding how God works with us within a Kingdom framework. He will always make His vision known to you through writing it on the tablet of your heart. We are under the dispensation of the New Covenant and the Holy Spirit is making individual tasks known to the chosen. There is always an appointed time for the vision to manifest. We are to patiently wait for Kingdom vision to come to pass. It is continuously on time. We are to seek Kingdom vision, His righteousness and then all these other things will be supernaturally added to us (Matt 6:33).
This is why Paul counted his own vision as refuse!
Why did Paul count his own his heritage, his self-effort and his own vision as garbage and loss? These are his own words found in Philippians 3:7-11, “7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
Let’s break this down:
Everything achieved in his natural ability was of no use to Jesus.
Nothing was of more value to Paul than knowing Jesus intimately.
He was willing to suffer the loss of all things to gain Christ.
He longed for nothing more than to be found in Jesus which produces righteousness that emanates out of an active faith in God.
This active faith enabled Paul to really know Jesus – be one with Him.
Which leads to knowing the true secret of resurrection power.
He understood the necessity of partaking with Christ in His sufferings.
Paul grasped that to die in Christ was to die to the power of sin, the devil and death itself.
All of this was done that he could attain a ruling position in Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.
Can you imagine the prophetic revelation Paul had received by the tutoring of the Holy Spirit? Paul had come to grasp the reality of what was being offered to him – a position of real governmental power at a successful outcome at the ‘Judgement Seat of Christ’ (2 Cor 5:9-10). Paul was willing to surrender everything to Jesus in this life to gain everything in the next. This the real secret of Christianity, this is the ultimate purpose for your salvation – to rule and reign on literal thrones with Him! This is why his heritage, self-effort and personal vision became obsolete to him.
Look what Paul marvelously states in Philippians 3:12-16, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.”
This is what he is really saying and it's jaw-dropping:
I’m not there yet, but pressing on to gain that ruling position with Him when He returns.
I certainly haven’t achieved being crowned yet but I don’t look back to the past that can only hold me back from attaining a position of power.
My heritage, self-effort and personal vison won’t qualify me at the “Bema Seat” before Christ.
The old man of flesh is behind me and I am reaching for the ultimate goal of my salvation.
The only goal I have is to be qualified as a first-born-son with the rights of primogeniture in the millennial Kingdom.
The prize of running a great race is to be crowned with Jesus as Lord of All.
If you claim to be mature in your Christianity, think like me and if you can’t see it, perhaps God will grant you eyesight to envision the hope of your calling.
The Apostle Paul had come to the realization that everything in a Christian’s life was leading to a marriage feast. This is where Jesus will take a Bride – a consort Queen. Paul wanted to be chosen out of the whole Body of Christians that will stand before the Lord. He wanted to be chosen as the “Metachoi”, those that will rule and reign with Him forever.
The upward call of God is for you to discover. It is the purpose for your salvation. Paul had come into a prophetic revelation of what it meant to count everything as garbage. He was running a race and his only goal was to attain to a better resurrection. He wanted a position of real power in Jesus’ coming Kingdom.
Nothing has changed, if you want to rule and reign with Him in His Millennial Kingdom, it’s got to be, “Nothing but Jesus”.