June 23 I Thursday
“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” —2 Corinthians 4:10
What is the meaning of life? Or rather, what is the purpose of life? Deep down, we all want a purpose that gets us out of bed in the morning and makes our life satisfying and meaningful each day. Some people who do not seem to have a reason for living just exist until they can bear it no longer. Other times, people just fill their emptiness with meaningless pursuits. Yet, most of our conscious reasons for living are dependent on our staying alive, because the moment we die, everything about us is gone. Even those reasons for living disappear.
Paul gives us his reason and purpose to live in Philippians 1:20: “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.” Paul’s ambition is that Christ will be exalted in his body, which the New King James Version translates as, “Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.” Whether by life or by death, Paul’s ambition is to magnify God.
By “magnify,” Paul does not mean to take a magnifying glass and make an object appear bigger. Rather, when we magnify Christ, we simply bring Him into focus no matter what circumstances we are in. When Paul wrote his letter to the church in Philippi, he was imprisoned in Rome. Though behind bars, Paul’s reason to live remained to exhibit Christ to those around him: for the prison guards who were chained to him, for the prison staff who delivered his food daily, for his cell mates and for those fellow Christians who visited him in prison—that they might all see Christ in him.
This should be the very reason behind the life of every Christian: that our lives become an exhibition and revelation of Christ. Many centuries ago, Francis of Assisi was attributed as saying, “Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” This does not mean we should cease to verbally share the gospel with our neighbours but that our unspoken lives—how we live, behave, treat our neighbours and handle our family—are just as much a testimony of Christ’s goodness to us. With our lives, we bring Christ into focus. We use words, but those words will be an explanation of what is visible in our life.
In believing and receiving Christ, we discover the true meaning and purpose to life: to magnify Christ. What better reason for living could there be?
Prayer: Dear God, may my purpose in life imitate Paul’s, whose words and actions loudly magnified Christ to everyone no matter what circumstances he was in. Thank You, Lord.