Life Lessons Devotional Series, Thursday April 27, 2023
Scripture: Phil. 1: 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.
Life Lesson: There exists within the heart of the child of God a yearning and longing to be in the presence of our Lord and that desire that is in the process of being fulfilled as we live out our lives here by faith in Christ will ultimately be fulfilled when at last His face we shall see in that day when we leave this world.
– In this passage the apostle Paul speaks out passionately about his longing to go on from this life into the very presence of the Lord. He qualifies his confession saying, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain”.
– For many today they might instead say, “For to me, to live is to gain and to die is to go on to be with Christ”. Paul expresses without reservation that his sole purpose, and his greatest achievement in this life is to serve and to know Christ! Christ is the very epicentre of his being! His life is literally defined by his walk with Christ and Christ is his greatest joy!
– Is it any wonder then that he also says “to die is gain”? While for many of us the thought of dying stirs up anxious feelings, for Paul the fact of dying evoked even a greater hope than living! Paul’s walk of faith was so intimate and fulfilling to him that he knew without question that on the day he might leave his body behind he would be immediately ushered into the presence of the Lord! In 2 Timothy Paul also wrote 1:12 I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.” This testimony conveys complete confidence in the faithfulness of God!
– Paul also wrote of his longing for the day that he would inherit his new body in 2 Cor. 5: 6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” Paul says he is confident that to be away from the body is to be at home with the Lord! Therefore, for the believer, death has truly lost its sting because of the reality that is awaiting us! 1Cor. 15: 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Amen!