St Nikolai Velimirovich: The Vanity of Everything in Comparison with Christ
"I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ." (Philippians 3:8)
The apostle who writes this had worldly knowledge; he had wealth and friends, he had youth and health. He had all the requisites of worldly success among his people. Paul says, "I left all." For the sake of Christ Jesus my Lord, I left all. Before the sages of this world he became a fool; before the rich he became as a beggar; before his friends, he becomes an enemy. He exhausted his youth and health by voluntary sufferings and afflictions. With one stroke he closed for himself all prospects for worldly success. Why did you do this O Holy Apostle Paul? Because, "I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ."
Brethren, did the Apostle Paul deceive himself leaving everything as rubbish and did he gain something greater in gaining Christ? Twenty centuries are witnessing that the holy apostle did not deceive himself and, that in gaining Christ, he received incomparably more and better than that which he abandoned and sacrificed. He received wisdom above all worldly knowledge and riches unperishable and incorruptible; he gained friends in the form of true angels of God; and eternal youth without disease and aging; and divine success, which lasts without change, in eternal life. All of this he gained in gaining Christ. All of this he received leaving all that the world offers to its favorites.
Indeed, brethren, Christ is better than the world. There are no words which could express His superiority over the world. The world deceives its favorites but Christ rewards His favorites truthfully. The world gives little and takes all. The world offers decay and takes away life. Christ, however, seeks little and gives all. He seeks that we discard decay and He gives us eternal life. Brethren, Christ is our one and only true friend.
O resurrected Lord Christ, help us to renounce rubbish, to renounce decay, and grant us eternal life.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
~from The Prologue of Ochrid
If you wish that God should speedily give you hearty faith in prayer, strive with all your heart to speak and to do everything in regard to other people sincerely, and never be deceitful in your dealings with them. If you are straightforward and truthful with others, then God will give you straightforwardness and sincere faith also in reference to Himself. -St. John of Kronstadt