But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 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 rubbish...
He uses the same word three times. His first use is in the perfect tense, which means it is a past event with present implications. He counted it as loss back then and that reckoning is having an impact today. But he shifts to the present tense: he counts everything as loss, counts it all rubbish.
Maybe I'll blog another day on the content of what he counted loss, but today I'm struck by this reality of following Jesus: I may have to remind myself of decisions that I made.
Paul made a decision to follow Christ and counted the cost. But he also had to wake up the next day and make the same decision again. His first decision was valid and right. Making that first decision actually helps in the subsequent decisions - his past decision had an impact on his present decisions. But he still had to do it.
I see this in pastorland. A person makes a decision to forgive, then have to get up the next morning and decide to forgive all over again. Clarifying their intention to be a forgiving person happens on a daily basis until their emotions aren't running their lives. The same way with purity: I'm going to be a pure person in thought and action. That's fine until you get tempted by the ad on the side of your news website and you have to clarify again. And hundreds of other examples.
So to anyone reading it, know that Paul made a decision and then had to clarify his intention to follow through on it. You're not in bad company.
But that's just me thinking thoughts...