Philippians 1:21 – Paul says “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
I am so very convicted that the American church with me included has settled for much less than our God has intended for us. How is it that we should live? For Paul, because Christ was the foundation of life and reason for living, to live meant to bring further glory to Christ. To continue living meant that the kingdom would be advanced and the cause of Christ would be brought to new nations and people groups. To continue to live meant that Paul would continue to be used by Christ for the benefit of the church.
For Paul, because Christ was the foundation of life and reason for living, to die was gain. Remember the eager expectation that we have regarding our eternity with Christ. For us, to die is gain. We gain all it is that we have been working towards as believers. We wait with eager expectation for those wonderful words: “Well done, good and faithful servant!” For us, to die is gain because we leave behind everything in this life that separates us from God. For us, to die is gain because there is no more pain and sadness. For us, to die is gain because we will go and be with our God forever! Like Paul, for us to die is gain. Because his relationship with Christ was the absolute center of his existence Paul can confidently say that no matter what happens in his life or death Jesus would receive the glory.
What about you? Can you confidently say: for to me to live is Christ and to die is gain? Are we living for Christ? Is He captivating our every waking moment? Is He receiving glory from our words and actions, from our lives? Somehow, I feel like we have settled for much less than was intended for us as the bride of Christ. If our lives all continue on into tomorrow will the kingdom of Christ be advanced because of each of our decisions? The challenge here as a result of Paul’s statement is that we, as disciples of Christ would be able to make the same statement. That no matter what our circumstances whether in life or death, Jesus would receive the glory from us. If He isn’t receiving the glory from your life, what is it that is preventing that from happening? What is it that we can change so that He will receive the glory from our lives?
Have we come to live for ourselves instead of for Christ stating: “For me to live is the chance to bring myself whatever temporal happiness that I can bring about by my own will and to die is eternal life in Heaven with no consequences for my disobedience.”
Instead…let us hear and live out this call out to us…The American Church.
" Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake yourself from the dust and arise; be seated, O Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion." (Isaiah 52:1-2, ESV)