Philippians 1:21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
In the verses before, Paul was:
1) delivering his salutation to the church vs.1 – 2
2) displaying his sincerity for the church vs.3 – 14
3) and describing his situation to the church vs.4 – 17
The fact was, Paul was imprisoned, he had others talking about him behind his back, and frankly; Paul had every reason to lose his joy in the Lord. Some of the most amazing words ever spoken were that of Philippians 1:18 – 21. Even when his circumstances were not joyous, and others were against him; Paul was able to say, “whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.” This took something that most of us are not willing to do…
Paul had to Deny Himself!
He did not serve God for a position. He did not serve God for a paycheck. And he did not serve God seeking men’s applause.
Paul had to Make a Decision!
In verse 21 Paul said, “For to me”. It was a personal decision Paul made! He then goes on to say, “to live is Christ.” Paul’s entire existence, his purpose in life; was Jesus Christ! I think of Daniel purposing in his heart that he would not defile himself with a portion of the king’s meat. I think of Joshua saying, choose you this day whom you will serve, as for me and my house; I will serve the Lord! It takes you making a decision to follow and serve the Lord with your life, because circumstances, and people, and things will not always be in your favor. It is not always easy to live for God, but it is always worth it!
Paul was Dedicated!
The last part of verse 21, Paul said, “to die is gain.” It was a promotion for Paul to go on to Heaven and be with the Lord. Paul longed for the day he could pset aside the the trials, the imprisonment, the slander to his name, and all the persecution he suffered for Christ. But in verse 24 he states, “Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”
This raises the question we must answer for ourselves. Are you NEEDFUL for others? Does your life reflect Christ in such a way, that you abiding in the flesh needful for people? It’s funny how we, in the church, will spend more of our time praying to keep Christians out of Heaven than we do for them to go on to Heaven. Is it possible that its because the majority of Christians today have not lived their life in the fullness and joy of Jesus Christ? Are we dedicating ourselves daily to reaching the world with the gospel of Christ? Are we displaying our joy in the Lord to the lost, and showing them that our lives have purpose?
Is your life…Jesus Christ?