“But even beyond that, I consider everything a loss in comparison with the superior value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have lost everything for him, but what I lost I think of as sewer trash, so that I might gain Christ and be found in him. In Christ I have a righteousness that is not my own…but rather from the faithfulness of Christ. It is the righteousness of God that is based on faith. The righteousness that I have comes from knowing Christ, the power of his resurrection, and the participation in his sufferings. It includes being conformed to his death so that I may perhaps reach the goal of the resurrection of the dead… I pursue it, so that I may grab hold of it because Christ grabbed hold of me for just this purpose. “ (Philippians 3:8-12, CEB).
When I was in college the rock band, The Doobie Brothers, recorded and released the song, “Jesus Is Just Alright With Me.” Although the song was originally written as a gospel song, The Doobie Brothers’ recording was meant for listeners of pop and rock music. The song became quite popular, however, among counterculture Christians, particularly those involved with the Jesus Movement of the 1970s. The song continues to be a staple of playlists on classic rock radio stations.
I’m sure as a member of the Jesus Movement in the 1970s I sang the song many times at student prayer meetings on my college campus. I still like the song today.
Recently, I heard the song on one of those classic rock radio stations and began to reflect on the perspective posed by the song: “Jesus is just all right with me!” And, it occurred to me that the sentiment expressed in the song that I loved so much as a young Jesus freak actually confirms what can go wrong with my faith as a mature Christian.
I like being comfortable with Jesus. He’s cool with me! So, it’s an easy and convenient place for my faith to reside when it’s a relationship that is clean, friendly and socially acceptable.
Certainly, Jesus is just all right with me isn’t exactly the expression of faith in Christ that the Apostle Paul describes in this declaration from his letter to the Philippians.
Instead of Jesus being all right with me, I think Paul is saying that Jesus should be all with me. “All right” is a comfortable place; “all” is more troublesome. It’s hard and it places some demands on me!
With an all right Jesus I become complacent. When Jesus is all, I am challenged! I take an all right Jesus for granted. When Jesus is all, it’s demanding and provocative.
The Jesus Who is all with me places a claim on my life; He has acquired certain property rights over my soul.
Paul says when Jesus is your all, then nothing else is really important. In fact, when Jesus is your all then the eternal value of this relationship by comparison makes everything else you have in life not only lose it’s importance, but it becomes like trash or something you flush down the toilet!
Because when Jesus is your all–when you have complete faith in Christ–you have the righteousness of God in you! And, that righteousness becomes the power of Christ’s resurrection at work in your life.
But, it also includes conforming to His death…
To have the power of resurrection and eternal life at work in your life, something must die. Your own self–your sense of self-identity and self-direction, who and what you are and where you are going with your life—must be crucified!
Then, you will become who and what you are in Christ! Then, where you are going with your life will be God-directed!
Following Jesus is not always all right. Sometimes it’s suffering and self-sacrifice.
But, difficulty and hardship help you find and fulfill your purpose in Christ. Because, if you’ve grabbed hold of Jesus then He’s grabbed hold of you.
And, He’s not letting go!