My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
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. (Gal. 6:14)
Paul’s only delight is Jesus. He has turned his back on what the world has to offer. His values have changed. He no longer seeks to know God’s will for his life. He seeks to know God Himself. With eyes fixed on the wondrous cross, Paul has replaced pride and self-righteousness with humility and the righteousness of Christ. He could not possibly have known God when he was self-righteous, hating those who did not believe as he did. To know God requires love. When he was a Pharisee and persecutor of the early Christians, he did not have love. But on the road to Damascus, he encountered Jesus. He is a changed man. Instead of silencing Christians, he begins to support them. He has crucified himself to the world fixing his eyes on the cross. He sees value in all men, regardless of their beliefs. He knows God, he knows love. He has found the cross of Christ.
As believers, we often fall into the trap of self-righteousness. We appoint ourselves judge and jury over our brothers and sisters who think differently than we do. One listens to music we disapprove of another wears his hair wrong, and then there’s the woman who judges herself because she loves motorcycles and is convinced that she must suppress her enthusiasm for the Harley bike that roars in her heart if God is ever to accept her into His kingdom. Let us put down such Pharisaism. Let us look to the cross, allowing God’s love, mingled with the blood of Jesus, to flow into our minds, through our hearts, and into our lives. The Lord cannot fellowship with us when we are caught up in all the good works we are doing. Nor can He bless us when we are consumed with judging those around us, condemning them for not adopting the same pet doctrines and beliefs that we have. God is with the sinner, the rebel, the guilty. The Lord is with the one who loves himself and others just the way God made them—warts and all.
Do you struggle with self-righteousness? Do you condemn those who believe differently than you do? Paul took the Gospel to the Gentiles whom the Jews, self-righteous and prideful, considered to be pagans, unclean, “dogs”, enemies to be shunned. Are you willing to be crucified to the world’s value system? To your value system? Take an earnest look at the wondrous cross where Jesus was crucified and exclaim, with Watts, “My richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.”