Have you thought about what it will be like to be with Christ after you die? (One of you is going to say, “Didn’t they write a song about that?”) It’s true. I can only imagine what it will be like to see Jesus face to face. But as amazing as that will be, the reality is that we still have to depart this world. And for each of us that means death.
Life or Death
Paul reflected on this reality in his letter to the Philippians. In the first part of his letter he expressed his confidence in Christ and his desire to honor him whether by his life or by his death (1:20). At this time in his life Paul felt the weight of death. Would he have to die for his faith in Christ? Or would he continue to live and be fruitful in his labor (1:22)?
I Choose Death
Check out what Paul really wanted.
“My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” (1:23).
How many of us could say the same thing? Sure, most of us would agree that it would be awesome to be with Jesus! But is Christ so valuable to us that we would be willing to die this day to be with him? Is He far better than our next breath?
The Value of Jesus
For Paul, He was. This life, as wonderful and joy-filled as it can be, is far less than Christ himself. Paul didn’t love this world too much. He was filled with hope and joy in Christ! His hope and joy was not in this life. This life is filled with opportunities to be faithful in service to God, but it is not all there is. There is more. There is Christ.
I want to love Christ so much that being with him means more than all of the pleasures of this world. I don’t want to love anything more than Christ. All that I can experience in this life is pale in comparison with knowing Jesus. My desire is to depart and be with Christ. That is far better.
What about you?
I agree…why love what will perish…great post!
Well put, and thanks for your encouragement.
I don’t long for death, but I do long for His return. Maranatha!
Cathy, I agree with you. None of us really long for death. The choice before Paul was really between life with Christ and life with His church. Of course, life with Christ meant passing through death. Paul loved not his life even unto death (Rev. 12:11). I fear that we have made too much of our lives and our earthly pursuits. We can’t bear to miss out on all that life offers, when really it is nothing compared to knowing Christ.
I say with you, Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus.
I think that Paul truly was overwhelmed, feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders, when he wrote these words. I think Paul was talking honestly about the depression he felt and overcame. Paul was gifted about talking openly about what it’s really like to be human: at times doing what we don’t want to and not doing what we actually value.
Good insight, K. Thanks for sharing. Paul is certainly an amazing example to us of perseverance and hope in the face of persecution. He was faithful to the ministry of the gospel against incredible odds. I love what he wrote: “It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death” (Phil. 1:20).
God bless you!