Friday, July 30, 2010

What is Life?

Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

21 Ἐμοὶ γὰρ τὸ ζῆν Χριστὸς καὶ τὸ ἀποθανεῖν κέρδος.

This passage is part of a discourse Paul has about his life and ministry.  Paul's desire is to depart and be with Christ, but he concedes that God is keeping him around for the benefit of the Philippians.  Here he says that τὸ ζῆν Χριστὸς.  This is an infinitive, so the translation is very literal.  τὸ ἀποθανεῖν is as well. The process of living is Christ, but dying is actually gain.

This is one of those real gut-check verses.  When I read verses like this I wonder how well this applies to me.  Do I believe that living is Christ?  What does that even mean?  If we look at the surrounding verses we learn about the fruitfulness of Paul's ministry.  He is advancing the kingdom of Christ with his life.  That seems to be what he means.  Am I doing that?  Maybe a little, but as I wrote yesterday I am often convicted about how much more I could be doing.

And what about this dying business?  I'm 36, so death seems very far away.  However, I am aware enough of the news to know that I am one blown tire away from my death.  Or maybe I'm one reckless truck driver at a red light away from death.  Traffic accidents are the common example, but all kinds of things could happen to me.  I run a lot, but I could easily have a heart attack while climbing a hill.  These things happen.  Am I ready for that?

When I contemplate death I think of how I would leave my family behind and that is what bothers me.  However, the idea of meeting the Lord face-to-face excites me.  I do not look forward to dying and want to live as long as I can, but I have no fear of death either.  Why should I?  To die is gain!

Can you say that?  If not, I urge you to come to know Jesus.  There is hope for eternal life in Him.  Otherwise you are rightly afraid to die.

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