Thursday, October 01, 2009
To Live is Christ
21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. 25 And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, 26 that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.
Philippians 1:21-26, New King James Version
To Live is Christ
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
These are some of the most profound words ever written by the Apostle Paul. How can a Christian make such a statement? We are born with a God-given will to live. Does that mean that Paul is sinning in making such a statement? No. Paul does not mean that he is considering taking his own life. He is rather stating the enigma of faith!
I cannot say that I have always shared such desires with Paul, but as I am now approaching being a senior citizen, I understand more what Paul means. Since becoming a Christian I have found that I no longer have a fear of death. But, as I look back upon my life, and as I look to the future, I have to agree with Paul that to die is gain! It has nothing to do with hating this life or hating my friends and family. Rather, it has everything to do with loving the Lord.
For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
It is natural for Christians to grow in faith and love for Christ as their years advance. First, as their relationship with Christ grows through Bible study, prayer, and especially personal fellowship with Christ, they find themselves longing more and more to be with Him. Second, as they grow in Christ, their sensitivity to their own sins grows as well, often causing an increasing sense of weariness in dealing with their own sins.
Paul, however, does not end here. Look at Philippians 1:24-26.
Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.
There is the proper balance for the Christian. Though we may long to be with Christ, we are pleased to remain here doing the work for Christ that He has ordained for us to do. Not only are we pleased, but we take great joy in our service for the Lord.
As you go about the duties of this day, remember, To live is Christ!
God Bless You,