To Live is Christ!

Posted: 11 November, 2006 in Theology

Broken chains

http://www.harlemlive.org/community/peeps/mcknight/chains.html

This week I have been thinking a lot about that verse in Philippians 1:21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

This post will essentially be a summary of a sermon my dad preached a little while ago, but I was so impressed by this thought that I am compelled to share it with you.

Besides the wealth of comfort we can take from verse with regards to a Christian dying, and the life hereafter we often miss the amazing first part of the verse – “For me to live is Christ…”
It is amazing to keep in mind that Paul was in prison when he wrote these words and instead of letting his circumstances get him down, he claims that he is a bond servant of Jesus Christ. He recognizes that nothing happens in this world that is out of the control of the Lord and instead of thinking of himself as a prisoner of the state – he goes straight to the real reason he is there. He was there because God had so worked his circumstances so that he would be in prison at that particular time. That fact really struck me – we can take so much comfort from that remembrance, that everything is under God’s control and works together under His good hand. God is never “stuck” and wondering how he could possibly get us out of a sticky situation – He is in complete control and we can trust him with our whole existance!

The other thing that really challenged me was that Paul was able to find joy in living – even from living inside a prison cell! His desire was that in everything Christ would be glorified in him!

He says that his desire would be to depart from this world and be with Christ (My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.) but he recognizes that he is still alive on Earth because God still has work for him to do here.

The main part of this text that I hope will change the way that I live was the verse: “For me to live is Christ…” In order to fully understand what this verse meant I had to ask myself what it means for this life to be Christ?

I had to ask myself: “What am I living for?”, “Why do I bother getting up in the morning?”

Do I do school each day so that I will be one day closer to the weekend? Do I live for the weekend? Do I live for entertainment? Do I live for things that I enjoy? What is it that I live for, and more importantly, if all these things were removed from my life would I still have a reason to live?

For Paul, to live WAS CHRIST. Christ was not merely a philosophy for Paul, not merely a God way out there who helps in trouble. He was not even a lens through which he viewed life – a new outlook… For Paul Christ was THE reason for living. He was his goal, his one desire, his only real joy!

Christ was what Paul looked forward to, it was his real reason for living!

I had to ask myself – if I were given the choice between watching the next episode of Prison Break or reading the next installment of Acts, between re-watching the matrix, or spending time with my Lord, even between lying on my bed staring at the ceiling, or meditating on the things of God – which would I choose? I was frightened to see how easily I crave the things of this world rather than Jesus, who laid down His life for me!

I arrived at the conclusion that surely Paul’s view of life ought to be my view of life, and the view that every true Christian has on life? Our reason for living ought to be Christ, our goal should be Him alone.

He alone is: “thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”

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Comments
  1. Caleb Gage says:

    My dad once told me that we should not see heaven as an escape from this earth, but rather as our reward. Our longing should not be to just get away. Rather our longing should be, as you say, Christ and a desire to serve him on this earth.

    Great post there Antz.

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