The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness. I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.
Saul wanted to exterminate the Christians–those stubborn misinformed low-lives who didn’t have any of the right credentials. God stopped him in his tracks and turned his life totally upside down. Everything changed, so it only made sense that he got a new name–Paul. Everything he had believed in and strived for–everything–was worth absolutely nada. But God didn’t empty him out and leave him with nothing. No, God embraced him. and Paul embraced him back and invited him in. God poured new life into the shell of what he had been; replaced inferior stuff with pure gold. He’ll do the same for you. Philippians 3:7-11 (The Message)