#DailyDevotion To Live Is Christ, To Die Is Gain
Phil. 119because I know that your prayer and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ will make this turn out victoriously for me 20as I eagerly hope there will be nothing for me to be ashamed of. But by speaking very boldly I will now as always glorify Christ in my body by living or by dying 21since for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22If I live here in my body, I’ll enjoy the results of my work. And which would I choose? I don’t know. 23I find it hard to choose between the two. I want to leave and be with Christ; that is much better. 24But for your sake it is more necessary that I remain in the body. 25And since I am convinced of this, I know I’ll live and be with all of you to help you grow and be happy in your faith. 26And so by coming to you again I want to give you all the more reason to glory in Christ Jesus.
Now, it is true that Paul was an apostle, but he was a fallen human being like you and me and had to live by the grace we have in Christ Jesus. Paul when writing this is not some super Christian other than his apostolic authority. He had the same weaknesses and strengths as we all do. He we see how we can be living in these last days by the power of the Holy Spirit given us in baptism.
Now Paul by prayer, his and others, live by the faithful knowledge that his circumstances will turn our victorious for him, that is spiritual ends or goals. He hopes that he will do nothing to be ashamed of in this current trial and tribulation. Indeed our prayers and the prayers of others to our faithful God indeed give us strength for the day. Paul wants to glorify Christ in his body in living or in dying. This should be our prayer and hope as well. Can we say we ask the Lord of Creation, our God to help us to do the same? If not, maybe we should start. There are too many of us that in our daily demeanor do not look all that different from unbelievers. If that is so, are we trying to glorify God with our bodies, whether living or dying?
Paul says “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” What does this mean? As long as we are in the body, the gospel of Jesus Christ should have us live as Christ lived. First, it is to have our whole lives dedicated to the service of our Father in heaven, trusting in him for all good things. Second, it is to love our neighbor. In our daily lives we are called and empowered by the Holy Spirit to have mercy on people, to forgive people, and to live humble lives in service to one another. While we’re in the body we live in service to one another and get to enjoy the fruits of our labor. For some it is being a living example of faith while dying and humbly accepting the help of others.
Yet, Paul says it is better to be with the LORD Jesus Christ. Yes, when we have finished our work, our LORD Jesus Christ will call us home to himself and bring us to the resurrection of all flesh where we will see with our own eyes his reign over creation and reign with him. Being with Christ in this way, we will live a life without sin and without sin in the world. It is definitely better to be with Christ. But until Jesus does call us home to himself, we will accomplish that which God wills and works and in our life to give glory to Jesus in what we say, think and do, especially for our neighbor and our fellow Christian, even if it is being the object of other Christians’ mercy.
Heavenly Father, continuously give us your Holy Spirit that we may glorify Christ Jesus with our bodies in service to you and our fellows until you call us home to yourself, through Jesus Christ your Son our LORD who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.