By Marni Montanez
New International Version (NIV)
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
This verse represents a definite direction and purpose for this author. Nothing else was as important or necessary than to live for Christ. Living, to this man of God, meant death to anything else. He loved Jesus with every fiber of his being and was not ashamed to admit it. He gave up his own life so that he could live according to Godís will. He knew what Christís sacrifice did for him and no other way of living would honor that sacrifice then to surrender everything to the One who saved His life.
Can we do any less? Can we live any other way then to be completely sold out to Christ where there is no hidden agenda or dramatic conclusion; there is only a simple and heartfelt solution to his life and that is to serve Jesus with all that he was. We need to have that kind of understanding in our hearts about Jesus and what He truly did for us. He left His high place in heaven and took on the position of a servant. He was beaten mercilessly and whipped. He died a horrible death of shame and then rose so that through His life we would have life. He did this totally and completely because of the desperate need we had, but did not recognize. He became the bridge that brought us from spiritual death to life eternal in heaven.
The second part of this verse expresses the only other option that would
keep the author in Godís presence and that was to be with Christ; physically
dead and alive in the spirit. He is saying, I will live for
Christ either on earth or in heaven. He gave himself without
reservation so it didnít matter where he served God; he just wanted to be
near God. To him there was no other choice. This is how we must live.
To give God our life and to understand what Jesus did for us helps us to
move forward with an attitude of triumph.
Challenge: Lay down your agenda for the day and ask God what He wants of you for that day. Let Him lead your decisions.
The purpose of this series is to encourage people to live as loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God: Jesus tells us to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10) God tells us through Micah (6:8), "He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God." And we know from Revelation 21:4 that there will be no more mourning, or crying, or pain, or death. Thus, Christian living requires us to set the standards of these conditions here on earth for our fellow human beings, and for the other animals, as a witness to the rest of the world. To do otherwise is not Christian.