To Die Is Gain (Phil 1:21b)

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Phillipians 1:19-21 NIV

What an outlook on life!? He goes on to say that he is torn between life here on earth and death, where he will spend eternity with our Lord. Thankfully God allowed him to be here a little longer that he might enrich our faith with his revelations of our Christ. What Paul is telling us in this snippet of scripture is that he only has eyes for Jesus the Christ, the Messiah. And that the sooner he gets to see Him in heaven, the better.

This hits to the heart of Christianity. It is what the desire of every Christian should be, to see Christ now, or to know Him while we’re here. For in this, there is no wrong. There is no possible way to fall if that is the principle by which you live your life, and make decisions. If we could only get it through our thick heads that we are aliens here on earth (Phil 3:20), I believe you would see the kingdom of God being furthered even more. But regrettably more often than not, we as Christians get caught up in the things of this world. As soldiers for God’s army, we get involved in civilian affairs (2 Tim 2:4). Therefore we lose sight of the true prize, our inheritance, which is eternal life with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

If only we could truly understand what it means in 1 Cor 2:2, where Paul says he resolved to know nothing in Corinth, except Christ and Him crucified. To know Christ and Him crucified, this has become the mission for my life. I have finally resolved in myself that anything beyond this goal is not worth it, and consequently leads to wasting my life. I say this because I realize that to know Christ encompasses so much. All situations that I come across can be navigated by looking at His life. I desire to not only know Him, but to obey him, that I might demonstrate obedience to the greatest commandment (Matt. 22:37-40).

The question I want examine is how do we practically live out Philippians 1:21? Paul give us practical advice in Phil 4:8. He says that “whatever is true, whatever is right, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.” Here he reminds us of the importance of our thought life. Our thought life is who we are, we basically live in our minds. Our mind is the command center of all we do. So if we are to live out “to live is Christ”, then we must set our focus on Jesus and truly begin to make it a goal to know Him. The only way we can do this is by getting in His word.

The bible is the divinely chosen option God uses to help us get acquainted with Him. As a matter of fact, it is the only way that we can truly form a relationship with Him. While it is very important to go to a church that teaches the bible, and surround yourself with mature believers, all of this is not going to get you very far if you don’t go to His word on your own. Our Lord’s life is documented very thoroughly in the bible. In it you will find gems more precious than gold. You find advice worth more than a million shrinks and counselors. Jesus lived a life we couldn’t, a perfect life. He was much more than just a good teacher, although he was. He is God. Made man. A servant by choice. A King. So get your bible out and go read about Him.

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