But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
Paul rejected the "personal merits" works-based performance spirituality he had been so zealous to pursue from birth, once the reality of the gospel confronted him. He had been an exemplary Jew. In terms of advancing by Judaism, he was on the fast track with his peers. But the inability to atone for his sin eventually pulled him to trust the Jesus who confronted him on the Damascus road... the Jesus he had once so adamantly persecuted. The gospel was more powerful than the works religion he once had valued. Now those works were worth nothing next to the supreme saving grace of the cross.
I'm glad to be reminded of this today. I have a tendency to overvalue my own good works. They do not save me. In fact, any thing I do that I may think is good, if not motivated by the gospel and empowered by the Spirit is not gain... it is loss. Jesus is of greater worth as my Lord and Savior than anything I think I've done well. In fact, I'm sinning to think I've done anything good without Him. Compared to Jesus I do not compare. My sins make me fall short. Thank God, He saved me and is changing me! That is how my life moves forward.... wonderfully toward Jesus by what He has done.