Philippians 1:21.

October 30, 2008

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

Paul didn’t write those words airily, flippantly.  He wasn’t writing from a mountain top retreat, reflecting on life and death in an abstractly glorious way.

He wrote that from prison.  He wrote that from the context of a life continually in danger for the sake of Christ.  They were weighty words.

TO LIVE: CHRIST.
TO DIE: GAIN.

I’ve been forgetting that.  I’ve been viewing life selfishly.  I’ve been clinging to life selfishly — not just my own life but others’ as well.  And in grasping for physical life, a life that is really but a breath, I lost sight of the whole point of living.  Christ.

To live is Christ.  That’s it.  That’s my life.  Christ.  My heart, my heartbeat, my continual song and theme: Christ.  (Note: I mean that more prescriptively than descriptively…)  And not just those things, but my Lord and my God.  The person of Christ.

And what of death?  Gain. Because it unites me, wholly, finally, and eternally, with the Christ who was my life.  Death ushers me into the presence of my Savior, to finally see Him with my own eyes and worship Him as I look upon Him.  It’s gain.  Unspeakable, incomparable 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 …” (Philippians 1:22-23)

He was torn.  To live meant “fruitful labor,” and to die meant being with Christ, which is “far better.”  And by far, he meant the whole distance.  It’s far better.

This was his life.  TO LIVE: CHRIST.  TO DIE: GAIN.  It was simple.

It wasn’t TO LIVE: SUCCESS or TO LIVE: MAKE A NAME FOR MYSELF or TO LIVE: FIND THE LOVE OF MY LIFE AND START A FAMILY or TO LIVE: ENJOY ALL THE WORLD HAS TO OFFER BEFORE I GO or TO LIVE: AVOID PAIN AND SUFFERING AT ALL COSTS.  (Or add whatever else we might substitute for Christ.)

Not that all of these things are bad, but they weren’t the defining factor of his life.  They weren’t of first importance to him.  TO LIVE: CHRIST.

And because living was Christ, dying was gain … because dying was Christ, too.  In fact, it was Christ in His fullness, face to face!

To be honest, when I wrote my last post, I was struggling.  I was struggling mainly because I forgot the point of living and dying.  I forgot the truth of Philippians 1:21.  And I’ll probably forget it again and/or be tested on that very point.

But even in matters of life and death, health or illness, joy or pain, Jesus is better.  To live is Christ.  To die is gain.  And that right there, joy.

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4 Responses to “Philippians 1:21.”

  1. Court Says:

    I was shared my testimony with my small group last night, and while I praise God for the opportunity, I was a little disappointed in not being able to clearly communicate all that God has shown me.

    But then I read your post and I thought “that was it. that’s all i needed to say. to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

    Not my dreams, finding “my significance”, not determining where i’m gonna be in 5 years.
    Dying to my selfish desires, ambitions, emotions, actions.
    And loving Christ more as I live everyday in his grace.

    Thanks T. I look forward to each and every blog entry. ❤

  2. tia Says:

    It’s a chain of thanks :] I have people to thank for the reminder, too. And ultimately, we know Who the thanks goes to. He’s good, isn’t He?

  3. 2trees Says:

    tia, are you going to family camp???? update blog sooooOOOooN pleasse! ❤

  4. tia Says:

    awwwww no, i won’t be there 😦 it was either ashley’s wedding or family camp … and it was ashley’s wedding! ❤ which i definitely don’t regret, but this’ll be the first year since 2004 that i won’t be there!


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