To Live is Christ, and to Die is Gain

Philippians 1:21-26

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

When we think about death it can bring a lot of emotions. Some fear, some uncertainty, some sadness, and some even anger from past losses. But for those who are followers of Jesus, death is something to look forward to. Why? Because we know we don’t live for this world, we live for eternity. We live for the day when we can be made new, and wholeness, Shalom, is made complete once and for all. To live is Christ and to die is gain. Our desire is to be with Jesus. How, though, are we to live in this waiting period? Paul gives us the answer.

We are to live as Christ. At first read we think, “well yeah is there any other way?” Matt Chandler says “When everything considered valuable in life is seen to be nothing in comparison to the glory of Christ, you learn rather well that Christ alone is worth living for.” Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians and says “If in Christ we have hope for this life only, we of all people are to be most pitied.” There is a greater day coming, a reward, a better life, and a beautiful resurrection. But the purpose of our lives while alive is to live and walk in a manner worthy of the gospel.

Death is like a homecoming for a Christian. Paul views it as a reward for the life he lived, offering himself as a living sacrifice on this side of heaven. Life is short, it takes turns sometimes we don’t see coming. This life, though, holds the keys to unlock the future glory we are promised. May we be a people, a Church, that doesn’t waste the time we have here.

Reflect

  1. Does your life reflect the reality of what we are longing for?
  2. In all honesty how would you fill in the blank: For me to live is _____? What needs to change for it to sat: For me to live is Christ? 

Pray

Father, thank you that you have given me a purpose for living. Teach me to be able to genuinely say, “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” Amen!*

*From Ray Stedman
Nick Viers, May 5, 2020
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