“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” The Apostle Paul wrote this to the Philippians while he was a prisoner in Rome. It’s a remarkable statement when you think of what Paul was going through personally. Paul is literally living in chains, but his attitude is that of thanksgiving and encouragement…joy and humility. His joy is in Christ, and he knows that if he goes on living and preaching the gospel he will continue to win people to Christ. If he happens to die in prison, then he will gain a reward in Heaven that he cannot put into words. In Paul’s eyes, it is the greatest position to be in.
I wonder in our own life how often we see it this way. I think if we were to write that passage our self, it would read something like this . “For me, to live is to gain and to die is loss”. Our lives are geared around the present. We live our lives to gain the immediate pleasure we get from the temporary things of the world. I wonder how many of us would be worrying about sharing the gospel with a prison guard or a fellow prisoner if we were in prison. I think most of us would be focusing on our desperate situation. We don’t do a very good job witnessing to our friends and family when things in our life are good, how could we do it when things get tough? Paul didn’t care what his circumstances were because he was living for Christ.
Paul’s continual source of joy, despite his circumstances, was Christ and his ultimate concern and his most precious possession was his relationship with Christ. He shared that good news with everyone he came in contact with, no matter what his circumstances were. Paul chose to spend his time in prison working for the kingdom and he chose to look at his situation as an opportunity. He knew God had him there for a reason. He was in chains for Christ, and He was living every single moment for Him. He wasn’t afraid of dying; because he knew what awaited him in death was so much better than what he had on earth.
I wonder in our life what we are chained to? Are we chained to the things of this world or are we chained to Christ and living every moment for Him? We are all aliens living in a world of temporary things, and we need to remember that. Our home is in Heaven, so for however long we are here on planet earth, we should be living with joy for Christ, just as Paul did. We need to be a servant and a messenger for the gospel.
Jesus Christ entered this earth in the lowest possible way he could come. He came to serve and He came in a way that allowed Him to relate to all people. He suffered the persecution of those that hated Him from the very beginning, and ultimately He suffered the cruelest physical death imaginable on a Cross at Calvary. His death on a cross and His resurrection was for our eternal gain. It was out of His desire to save us that He died and our joy is found in Him! We’re free and we should live our lives that way! We were given a gift and we should be sharing that good news.
As you go about your daily lives this week, ask God to open your eyes to the opportunities to share your joy. They are in front of us everyday, but many times we let them pass by with out doing anything. We are projecting Christ in a positive or negative way every single day. Let us all strive to live our lives positively expressing the joy we find in Jesus Christ!
Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”