Monday Motivational: To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain
Welcome back to another Monday Motivational! I hope that last week was full of growth, encouragement, and new experiences. This week we are going to be looking at some more words of wisdom from Paul. I don’t know about you, but I get so much encouragement and conviction from reading the Pauline letters. Most of Paul’s letters were written to believers facing a problem, and even though we may not be facing that same exact problem, we are constantly being attacked by satan and the letters of Paul can help us be prepared for that. Today I want us to look a passage in Philippians chapter 1. Our focus will be on verses 19-30, but I highly recommend reading the whole chapter when you have a few minutes to spare!
Paul’s objective in this passage is to reveal to the saints in Philippi that our goal should be providing an example of giving glory to God whether in life or death. (verses 19-20) Paul famously writes “For to me to live is Christ, and to dies is gain.” in verse 21. If we choose to stop reading right there we could potentially miss what Paul is trying to convey. He continues to breakdown what he means in the coming verses. Lets look at these two statements to get the full understanding of what Paul was saying.
We will start with “to live is Christ”. As a believer our life must point to and strive toward that of Christ. Paul says in verse 22 “to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me”. He does not mean to live in his sinful flesh, but rather to live in his physical body. The fruitful labor is the work he will endure for the progression of the gospel of Christ and all those who will come to know Christ as their savoir because of this labor. He goes on to say in verse 27 that we must “let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ”. The Greek translation of this also means “only behave as citizens worthy of the gospel of Christ”. Believers have been given citizenship in heaven and our life must be a living sacrifice to Christ. Therefore, “to live is Christ”!
Moving on to “to die is gain”. Paul says in verse 23 “I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better”. For us as individuals at our point of salvation we are given citizenship in heaven, which means after death we will be with Christ. Our death becomes the greatest gain imaginable at that point—to be rid of this world of sin and temptation, and to be in the presence of Christ and fullness. We instinctively fear death because it is portrayed as an end to what is and a separation from the people and things that we love. However, through our death we receive togetherness with Christ for eternity. Therefore, “to die is gain”!
We need to use the time we are given to “live in a manner that is worthy of the gospel of Christ”, but we cannot live in fear of death. In verse 29 Paul says, “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake”. When we believe in Christ we can look to His life and strive for a likeness in it. We can also know that in our death He will be glorified, and we will receive the greatest gain!
I hope that you have an amazing week! Stay dry with all this rain that is supposed to come.