Paul’s life statement is given here. He described his reason for living and dying. It should be our reason too. Life is a precious gift of God. Eternal life is a gift as well. The Lord wants to give it to us. In order to, we must receive Jesus and let go of self.
Philippians 1: 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
This should be the aim of every child of God as we seek to please him. This is stated in simple terms. Paul had complications, trials, and tribulations being a Christian. A person goes against himself when he gets saved. We are in the world but not of it and need to be a witness for Jesus.
What is your reason for living? Have you ever thought about what keeps you motivated? The problems of the world come into our homes through the television screen. We’re all feeling the impact of economic changes that have happened. We’re feeling the effects of health care. It’s a far different world than it was 10 years ago. Things will get worse; don’t look for it to get better.
Philippians, Colossians, and Ephesians are prison epistles. While in prison, Paul wrote verse 21. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. I’m sure the guards thought him crazy. The church at Philippi was started by Paul; he wrote this letter to them behind bars. No matter what bars are between you and God, he can get through. This letter got through and is in our hands tonight. Some of the simplest and most powerful words written by Paul are in this book. In 4:12 he said I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Here he says for you to live is Christ. Each day is a gift. Your living will determine what kind of death and eternity you will experience. The past is gone. Yesterday is closed. We can’t go back in time. The second hand on that clock keeps moving, ticking away our lives. There is no guarantee of tomorrow. Just because Paul was in prison was no excuse for him not to do what he should. He served the Lord behind those bars. No matter what shape we’re in, we can live for the Lord. Paul still magnified the Lord.
Our death is inevitable. The Bible says it is appointed unto us to die and after that face the judgment. Today is passing by and we move in the direction of our end—death or the rapture. If you’re not saved, you’ll be left behind still headed to the judgment of God. I want my end to be in glory. For that to happen, I must be in Christ. He is my reason for living.
Paul was deliberate. For me to live IS Christ. “Is” is important. Paul was saying Jesus IS the center of my life. The sun is the center of the universe. God set is all in motion. Without him we cannot be a Christian. We can’t claim heaven. We have no hope for tomorrow. God must rule the roost of our heart and soul. Do you treat Jesus like your little finger and tell him what to do? Put him in the position of center of your being. Life is passing by. Our living is by him. It’s all through him. He’s been good to us. We’ll keep living by his help, his strength, and his power. We’ve overcome so far by him and if your life is in Christ, you can live for him.
I’ve heard it said by some. “I’m living for the Lord” but they won’t come to church. They take the cookies and cream of the scripture, use them, and forget the responsibility that comes with being a Christian. You can’t be a Christian on your own. Christian means Christ in you. Only then can you receive it. Remember those in the Bible who professed to God “didn’t I do this and that in your name?” He said they were workers of iniquity and I never knew you. They tried to be a Christian without Jesus Christ. That’s like trying to cook a pot of beans without the beans. It’s time to get down to business and let Jesus be the center of life. Then you’ll have reason to die. None of us wants to die. That’s human nature. If your life is in Christ, you have reason to face death. It is gain for the saved, a promotion. When that time comes, if Jesus has been our trust, to die is gain.
Death usually comes at a person’s weakest physical moment, yet I’ve seen those weakened people smile and praise the Lord at the end. I want that kind of death. In order for that to happen, life must be in order. We can be unafraid and unashamed if our life is in Christ. When we think about how bleak this old world has become, we can see how better it is to depart. We can also see, as did Paul, that staying is needful.
How much do you need your brothers and sisters? How needed are you? We are needed by each other. We should be a help to others. The end of life is not up to us; it’s up to God. Paul was concerned about Christ being his life and reaching out to meet needs. I’d like to say with my whole heart, for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. I can if Christ IS my life.