English Standard Version (ESV)
It's a different worldview that allows Paul to believe this way. Paul is so deeply committed to the central truth of the Gospel -- that real life is in Christ alone, and that any price the world exacts for pursuing this life is a trifle compared to the eternal peace and joy that we find in Christ is worth paying a thousand times over. Paul has seen both sides -- he has pursued status in the world and has seen where that leads, and he has pursued Christ and recognized the abundant life that is available only there. He has made his choice, and nothing in the world will make him go back.
I am certainly no Paul, and not many of us are. We are caught up in the world and our lives and countless distractions, some worthy of our time and others less so. We have probably not experienced the voice of God calling us on our own road to Damascus, and we have experienced a very different church than the one Paul did.
But we are confronted with the same choice -- will we pursue life in Christ at any cost, or will we not? It's not that simple, but in a way it is an easier choice than we often make it out to be. The benefits offered to us are the same offered to Paul, and so is the price -- it is a free gift, but to pursue it costs something, and we are often reluctant to give up anything in order to follow Christ.
And so today, I think the challenge for us in our lives of prayer is to seek what the next step is -- how do we go deeper? How do we eliminate the distractions and single-mindedly follow Christ, wherever that may lead?