December 4 I Wednesday
1 John 3
“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.” —Philippians 1:20-21
How would we describe what it is like to really live? Many would say it is having enough financial prosperity to live the rest of our days in comfort and ease. Others think it is living in a democratic society with the freedom to do what we want. Still others believe it is in relationships with everyone getting along and loving each other.
Some of us may have all of this, but somewhere along the line our bubble bursts, and we find ourselves at a stupendous loss. Nothing is guaranteed in life, so where do we go from there? The truth is we only know how to really live when we know how to die. It may sound morbid, but in reality, our reasons for living are
naturally dependent on staying alive. Paul says he has a reason that transcends both living and dying, and it has nothing to do with prosperity, freedom to do what he wants or even relationships.
Paul’s reason for living is so that Jesus Christ is exalted in his body, whether by life or by death. Paul’s relationship with Christ is such that he is actually torn between life and death. He writes, “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body” (Philippians 1:23-24).
Paul says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Within this verse, there are four vital aspects to Christian living that transcend worry, fear, death and loss. Firstly, the Christian life is personal. It is “to me,” and involves an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Secondly, it is practical, where it is “to live.” We can preach Christ in the way we live. The more Christ is revealed through us, the more reasons we have for living. Thirdly, the Christian life is possible with Christ as our means and our resources. Fourthly, the Christian life is permanent. “To die is gain,” and we move on to greater things that we cannot begin to know in this life.
When Christ is exalted in our lives, doing what we want is inconsequential, and we cease to care about prosperity. Relationships, of course, are vitally important, but the one relationship that will look after all the others is the relationship we have with Jesus Christ. To really live is to be in intimate union with Christ and to know our security lies in Him alone.
Prayer: Lord God, more than anything I could gain
in this world, I pray that You are exalted in my life.
I surrender all that I am to You. Thank You, Lord.