Scripture: Philippians 1:21-26
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.
Insights: Paul has such an amazing outlook on life. His view of life being fruitful labor and his death being greater glory is wonderful. In recent days I have read Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven. I have also reacquainted myself with C. S. Lewis’ imagery of heaven from many of his books (including his fictional works like The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle). The point being I am starting to understand Paul’s language more and more. It may be because of crossing the forty barrier, I am not certain, but I am beginning, at a very rudimentary level, to understand my longing for my true home. At the very same time, I am becoming more focused and convinced of my mission here on this side of eternity. I am convinced, like Paul, I must continue on for the progress and joy of the faith with those the Lord has placed in my path. And like Paul, I am beginning to understand the importance of such labor. Even as I review what I have written so far, the conflict within me is very evident. Yet, there is great peace in this position. I believe verse twenty-one gives us the only way to express such peace in the midst of such pressing from both sides. It reads, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Though it is not explicitly stated, the glory of Christ is the central theme of Paul’s conflict. His life is like binoculars or a telescope. In this crude illustration, Paul is taking Jesus (who for the illustration is far from the lost Paul is attempting to reach) and letting the lost look through his life as he makes Jesus appear larger and clearer. Paul’s life is magnifying the presence of Christ before all who observe him. Our lives, in this conflicted state of peace, are to do the very same thing. Beloved, may you, like Paul, bring glory to God as you point people to Jesus.
- Are you longing for your ultimate reunion with Christ?
- Does such a thought regarding your reunion bring you great joy?
Prayer: Father, thank You for my eternal home. May I grow in my walk with You and have greater longing for our face to face encounter. Amen.