By Life or By Death

Philippians 1:18b – 21 “Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Wow. Paul’s bold proclamation leaves me . . . speechless. He was imprisoned, and was awaiting trial. He knew that one of two things would happen: he would be set free, or he would be executed. I can’t even begin to imagine the tense emotions that may have been swirling around in his mind. And yet, he was able to find good in either outcome! If he lived, he would get to continue pursuing his passionate goal of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. If he died, he would be with Christ, face to face.

We can learn from Paul. All too often, we view imminent death as scary or sad. But for the Christian, death is a step up from this life! Then again, sometimes we get depressed or frustrated, and we wish we could just “go home.” But this life is filled with opportunities to serve Christ, who loves us so much that He gave His life for us! Like Paul, each and every day of our lives should be lived as a joyful thank you to the One who gave us life. And like Paul, death, in its proper time, should be viewed as an exciting prospect to see that very One for all of eternity!

Paul’s valiant statement gives me reason to pause. If I had to fill in the blanks, “For me, to live is ___________ and to die is ____________,” what would go there? Is Christ my life? Or is it my family, or writing, or music? What about death? If faced with losing my life, would I feel regret or excitement? Probably both. But it is my prayer that like Paul, Christ will be my life, and spending eternity with Him will be my greatest dream come true.

Dear Father, Thank You for Paul’s brave example of faith and commitment. Help me to model my faith after his.


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