Devotional

“For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.” ― Philippians 1:21

What in your life are you willing to take a stand, even die for? What you have accomplished, created and experienced in living your life…what part(s) were worth dying for? The answer to those questions give meaning to life.   

We all have things we would like to go back and change. Maybe you wished that you had traveled more. Maybe you wish you had taken the plunge and started that business. I wish I had …. [insert your biggest regret]. In Philippians 1:21 (NIV) Paul writes, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” In this verse, Paul reveals his attitude toward the final enemy—death. Paul was saying in essence, “I can’t lose. As long as I live, I live to serve Jesus Christ. And when I die, I get even more of Him.” Paul had lived his adult life for Jesus Christ, but he also had a desire to live with Jesus Christ.  

All Christians feel the pull of heaven and long for an eternity with Christ. Although we cannot truly understand or appreciate heaven, we know we will be present with our Savior and that’s all we need to know: “Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

But while we yearn for eternity, we live here on earth. Christianity is not abandoning life by killing time while we focus on heaven. We still have gifts and contributions we can make to the kingdom. To live is Christ. Life can be a showcase where the wonderful, beautiful, redemptive life of God is revealed. Sometimes we yearn for Heaven because this life can be tough and heaven can be pretty enticing: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:4) 

Philippians 1:21 (TLB) says, “For to me, living means opportunities for Christ…” We still have opportunities to “…run with endurance the race God has set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1) “To live is Christ” means that Christ is our focus, our goal, and our chief desire. Everything that we do, we do by “…keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2). The more you become genuinely and relentlessly available to Christ, the more your Christian walk becomes vibrant and effective.  So as we wait to serve God in the age to come, let us use our gifts and abilities to serve Him now.    

Discussion Questions: 

  1. What is your ultimate goal in life? Does your faith in Christ shape that goal?
  2. Can Christ be exalted by your life or death? Explain.
  3. What reasons would you give for wanting to remain here on earth versus departing to be with Christ (or vice versa )?