He was part of God’s chosen people, born into the right family, highly educated, strictly religious, blameless in the law, zealous in his work. His name was Saul. He killed the Christians and was respected for it by the Jewish leaders. Even so, what was once a “good life” became as rubbish in comparison to knowing Jesus:
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him…” —Paul, once known as Saul, Philippians 3:7-10
In light of knowing Jesus, nothing else mattered to Paul anymore. It was all as rubbish. Fame, riches, power, education, religion, and perfection — rubbish. Living comfortably in a home, having good health, wearing clean clothes, being respected by your peers — complete rubbish. What we once considered blessings and even necessities are no longer necessities, and not even comparable blessings. Paul wrote this in prison, after suffering through brutal beatings on account of the gospel.
Along with a complete transformation, Paul had quite the change in perspective. Check out what he says just a few verses later: those who are enemies of the cross set their minds on earthly things (3:18-19), but we who are citizens of heaven set our minds on the Lord Jesus and on His return (3:20). Our perspective is a result of what we set our minds on. Are we setting our minds on that which is as rubbish, or on the incomparable worth of knowing Jesus?