“For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.” – Philippians 1:21
What is the purpose of life? In other words, why are we here? How we answer this question shapes our lives in countless ways. Or perhaps the better question is “Who are we here for?” It’s a subtle change, but it makes a significant difference. The question helps us evaluate who is really at the center of our purpose: Is it God or self?
Many of us try to center our purpose around ourselves as if life is all about us. This is like trying to make the sun orbit the Earth; the universe isn’t designed to work this way. The Bible tells us very clearly that we are made by Jesus and for Jesus: “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation.” (Colossians 1:15). We exist for His glory as Ephesians 1:12 points out: “God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God.” We are here to serve Him, not vice versa.
So how do we live for God’s glory? There is a wealth of promises that can only be experienced when we choose to lay down our own glory and live for the glory of God instead. We weren’t created to live for our own advancement, and attachment to advancement only breeds pain and suffering. But if we’ll choose instead to seek God’s glory, to lift Him up and lead others to Him, we’ll find life, purpose, peace, and joy.
Paul beautifully summarizes this concept in Philippians 1. His encounter with the risen Christ on the Damascus road (Acts 9) completely changed the purpose of his life. From that moment on, there was no confusion as to who he was living for. He lived to exalt Christ and to make Him known. “For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.” (Philippians 1:20).
As followers of Jesus Christ, we should be challenged by Paul’s words. The way he lived out his purpose is remarkable. But it seems like an unattainable goal because we want God in control of some parts of our life, but other areas we prefer to maintain some level of control. There wasn’t any area of Pauls’s life off-limits to God. Our goal should be to exalt Christ in all things.
The sole aim of every Christian heart should be to glorify the Lord and to serve Him. A life with a passion for Christ gives rise to a life of victory, where the power of faith and the sufficiency of His grace overcomes the difficulties of life and the sting of death. When we can say with Paul, “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain” we discover that a life lived for God becomes a life lived on mission for Him.
- Who are we living for on a daily basis?
- What can we do this week to make better daily choices in our walk with God?