Living Is Christ and Dying Is Gain
Philippians 1:20-21 New English Translation
20 My confident hope is that I will in no way be ashamed but that with complete boldness, even now as always, Christ will be exalted in my body, whether I live or die. 21 For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain.
Paul’s hope was found in Jesus Christ. He was rooted and grounded in Christ. He learned the secret of the Christian life in willingly being able to suffer for Jesus to stand against the opposition of the enemy. The secret is abiding in Christ. The secret is understanding to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Paul lived his life with complete boldness in proclaiming the gospel. His lack of fear on a daily basis was due to his reliance on The Holy Spirit. He knew who he was before Jesus got a hold of his life. Paul was a man who before coming to know Christ desired to zealously destroy Christianity. He was driven by satanic zeal and deception. Even though he believed that he was doing the work of God and defending the law, he in fact was doing the work of Satan.
But Paul knew he was saved by the grace of God through faith. On the road to Damascus his life was forever changed. He met the Living Christ. He would be blinded for three days and during those three days I have no idea all that went through Paul’s mind, but one thing that he most likely meditated on was that the very one he was trying to destroy was the Messiah. The very one he was trying to stand against was the one that all the scriptures he had studied all his life pointed to.
Paul’s aim was that Christ would be exalted in his body. Worship is far more than simply singing praises at the beginning of a service. Worship is a lifestyle. It is an understanding that our entire being is a living sacrifice and that in all we do we should live to glorify the name of Jesus. This was Paul’s mindset and aim. The more that Paul abided in Christ and walked with Him, the more he fell in love with Jesus and Jesus became his obsession. For all of us this should be our aim and lifestyle if we are to truly call ourselves disciples of Jesus.
But the secret for victorious Christianity is found here: living is Christ and dying is gain. When you fight a battle, it is a dangerous thing to face an opponent who cares very little if they will live or die. In battle if a person is concerned and even fearful if they die, they will be hindered in their ability to be effective. But if they have no fear of death, they will fight and battle without abandon. Their sole aim is to destroy their opponent.
This is the reality for every Christian that comes to the revelation that living is Christ and dying is gain. One of the great hindrances in America is we become married to comfort. We pursue the American dream without even realizing it. But we should be pursuing the one who has given His life for us. We should be willing to lay down all for the sake of God’s kingdom. May we pray that this attitude and mindset be developed within us. Daily may we care very little if we die, but may we pursue and chase after living for Christ.
Father I thank you for your love and grace. Help me in my fear and deliver me from self-preservation. Help me to give up my life on a daily basis and simply to choose to live for you regardless of the cost. Father give me eyes to see and ears to hear. Deliver me from pursuing comfort, but instead being willing to suffer for the name of Jesus. Father help me daily through the Holy Spirit to truly be a living sacrifice for you. In the name of Jesus, Amen!