Sunday, January 15, 2012

To Live is Christ and to Die is Gain

In Philippians 1:20b-21 Paul says he wishes with all boldness to continue to magnify Christ in his body, whether in life or in death, "...for to me to live is Christ and to die is gain."

I've always admired the singular zeal with which the apostle Paul lived his life.  Even before he was converted when he was a dyed-in-the-wool Pharisee he held nothing back, launching an all out attack against those he thought were in the wrong based on his understanding of scripture.  Then, when Jesus Christ spoke to him directly and Paul believed on Him as the risen Son of God, he reversed course and lived entirely for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, and through Him, God the Father.

Now here is this great Christian man who wrote most of the New Testament saying that for him, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  For Paul, life consisted of using all his strength, energy, and resources in serving and glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ.  Christ was not "Lord" in name only, but sat on the throne of Paul's life.  Elsewhere Paul says he considered himself only a "bondslave" of the Lord, a man that in practical terms considered his own feelings and will as only a side note, but rather served the Lord with unquestioning obedience, as a faithful slave would.  Paul says that to die is gain, which is a financial term meaning that he would receive a return on his investment.

Have we placed the Lord on the throne of our lives?  Do we constantly seek for way to serve Him, love Him, and spend time with Him, or do we give Him the leftover pieces of our lives?  Do we put His will above our own as faithful bondslaves or do we elevate our will and ignore His prompting and commands?  When we die, will we be well rewarded for the lives that we have lived, or will our works burn before our eyes as wood, hay, and stubble?

May God help us to live 2012 for Him.  May we clear our days of wasteful selfish things and serve Him with all we have.  The time is short.

1 comment:

  1. I think often of Paul's letter from prison, written with such joy even though persecution and suffering was upon him. Paul's pursuit of righteousness under God allows him to see his difficult circumstances as "light and momentary affliction" as a sort of vehicle to an "eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Corinthians 4:17). So true, couldn't agree more.