Monday, February 2, 2009


Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ. -Philippians 3:8 (CEV)

A rusted swing sent me to the dump and its huge heap of garbage this past weekend. People sure can pile up trash. I'm amazed at how wasteful my family of five can be. When I was a child I used to imagine a day when we'd put earth's garbage on huge rockets and aim them at the sun!

Whatever the solution may be, people need a place to put their rubbish. Whether it's last night's fish stick left-overs, a lifetime of psychological baggage, or the filth of sin, we all need to unload. The constant accumulation of our own by-products threatens to stifle the joy from our existence. Dirty lives are miserable lives.

The good news is that Jesus offers us a place to dump the debris we've made of our lives. More than that, he trades our refuse for restoration. At the trash heap where he was crucified, he gives us grace for garbage . He's now accepting two kinds of garbage.

Garbage 1
The first kind of garbage Jesus takes from us, is our sin. "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree..." (1Peter 2:24) Even before the crucifixion the Lord was forgiving people's sins, and telling them to leave sinful lifestyles. He wants us to leave sin with him, and never take it up again. He even starts working on our sinful desires.

Garbage 2
The second kind of trash Jesus takes from us is our righteousness. Yes, fixing our own mess amounts to sweeping the aftermath of a nuclear explosion under a welcome mat. It can't be done. The Word of God says our righteousness is as filthy rags. Our attempt at virtue stinks to high heaven as pungently as our sin.

When Paul said, "I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage," he was talking not just about his former sins, but about his former religion:

  • Circumcised on the Eighth Day
  • Descendant of Israel
  • From the tribe of Benjamen
  • Full-Blooded Hebrew
  • Pharisee
  • Persecuted the Church
  • Kept Jewish Law

These are things that would have made any Jewish mother proud. But these are things that Paul gave up and considered garbage. "Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord," means, relationship beats religion any day. So, whether your garbage consists of your sin, or your attempt to clean up your sin, bring it all to Jesus. Trade it all for life!

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