PHILIPPIANS 1:21-26 – For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.
THEME OF THE DAY. WE EXIST FOR OTHERS. A lot of things about the Christian life make no sense – from the world’s standpoint. For instance, Jesus says, “Blessed or happy are those who are poor” and “Blessed or happy are those who mourn.” The world says, “Huh? Happy by being broke? Huh? Happy by crying, lamenting and mourning? I don’t think so.” And then we have the paradox leaving the world to scratch their heads by what Jesus says about life – “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25). The world would hear these words of Jesus and respond, “Are you crazy? Survival of the fittest. Give up my life? No way. I am preserving my life.”
Another paradox is found in today’s scripture. The world is engulfed in the sin of selfishness. People outside of Christ are driven by self-centeredness. Their world orbits around themselves. Oh, they may give random acts of human kindness and serving others, but those are just that – random and of short duration. It has to be that way. People outside of Christ know nothing of the life God created us to have and commands us to live; a life that exists for others.
In today’s scripture, the Apostle Paul was captivated and captured by Christ. His whole life was Christ. His chief desire in life was to leave this life! Christ, Christ, Christ was the Apostle’s heartbeat and lifeblood. And when that is true of a Christian, all Christians, the life lived on earth is detached from self-interests, self-fulfillment, self-desires, and self-pursuits. The self is replaced by the good of others and that primarily to serve them for their spiritual good. Ponder what Paul says is now the direction of his life since Christ became his life – But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again. When a life is consumed with Christ, the spiritual health and welfare of people and particularly God’s people become the “road map” by which life’s journey is traveled. We look at ways, pray for ways, and then walk in ways that enhance other believers in their walks with the Lord. We actually seek to be used of the Lord to bring joy and a maturing of the faith in God’s people.
So, what about us? Do we see the paradoxes of the Christian life like the world? Doesn’t make sense? Or do we live the Christian life as it really is; as defined by God – a life captivated, conquered, and held captive by the love of Christ that directs our lives to be agents of grace in His people for their growth and joy? Remember, the Christ-centered life becomes the living for others life. That is why we exist.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to see Your will for my life is to be lived for the good and advancement of others, not my will.”
QUOTE: “There is a paradox in the Christian life; joy comes not for living for ourselves but in the denying of ourselves.”