November 13 I Sunday
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
What drives our life? Some of the things that drive our life could be fame, fortune or pleasure. But for the Apostle Paul, it was Christ. He tells us, “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. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:20-21).
Paul gives a remarkable statement as he summarizes his passion and perspective towards life. Even when he was locked up in prison and suffering persecution, all he cared about was for Christ to be exalted whether by his life or death. Paul did not describe a life of self-indulgence should he survive this persecution, because his perspective towards life was pretty simple: it was not about his purpose, his desires or his agenda, but all about Christ.
Paul’s outlook challenges us to look into what drives our life. When everything is stripped away, what is at the heart of our lives? What is at the nucleus of our existence? What consumes our thoughts and our energy? Is it Christ or is it something else?
If our answer is not Christ, then we are chasing an idol. We do not want to get to the end of life, look back and go, “I wish I had lived differently. I wish I had used my time for the cause of Christ and not for my own comfort.” None of us are going to get to the end of our life and stand before the throne of Christ talking about how much wealth we accumulated, how beautiful our home was or how powerful the engine of our car was. There is nothing wrong with accumulating wealth, having a nice home or an impressive car, but if that consumes all our energy, our attention, our time and our resources, then something is wrong. Because if Christ is not the center of our focus, then we are wasting our life.
May we sincerely reflect on what drives our life and ask ourselves: Do we use our gifts and resources that God has poured into our lives in fruitful labour towards the needs of those around us? Or does our life primarily revolve around our own comfort? We only have one life to live. Paul clearly outlined what passion and priorities drive his life. Do we share the same passions and priorities as Paul, who sought to live for Christ by being consumed with His purpose, His desires and His agenda?
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I confess that I enjoy a life of comfort, allowing it to become an idol in my life. I ask for Your forgiveness. I want my life to be centered on You. Amen.