What is your biggest preoccupation? What do you spend the most time thinking about? If we were honest, our answers would range all over the map, from money to health to sports to sex. What you think or worry about the most becomes your focus in life. Everything else gets rearranged around it. The problem is when things are arranged the wrong way, our whole life gets bent out of the shape God designed for it. It gets warped. And then everything starts to go wrong.
The focal point, the central reality of Paul’s life, was knowing Christ. Everything else was entirely secondary. He wanted to know Christ, to know the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings and to become like him in his death (Philippians 3:10-11). He wanted to know Christ enough that he was willing to pay whatever price it took to achieve that goal. He knew that when Christ was the focal point, everything else would come into order. The warp would be gone. And to get rid of the warp would be worth the price.
He knew a secret. The only place to find Jesus is on the road to Calvary. But the road to Calvary is the only road that leads on to glory.
How much time do you spend thinking about Christ, about his will for you, about his Word, about his call on your life, about how to please him? Do you spend more time thinking about those things than about your bank account, your job satisfaction or your favourite sports team?
When Paul found Christ, he set everything else in his life aside. The things that had meant everything to him were now without value. This he makes clear so vividly in Philippians 3:9: “For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ.” You can’t gain Christ without losing whatever takes precedence over him!
If we have to pay a price, what is the benefit? Well, when our lives stop being warped and get back into the shape God designed for them, we start making a lot fewer mistakes. We make it easy for God to help us. We find that all that time spent seeking stuff the world offers was a waste of time. We lose a lot of fruitless activity and gain a lot of priceless peace.
God has designed our lives to move in an upward trajectory: from the suffering of the cross to the glory of the resurrection, from the place of first accepting Christ to the place of being transformed by him, from the bottom of the pit onto the highest mountain, from under the worst curse into the greatest blessing.
Getting rid of the warp will unfold the magnificent beauty of the garment that God has designed to represent your life. When the warp begins to go, you’ll wonder why you tolerated it for so long.