Philippians 1:21-24 — 21 For to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better. 22 Yet if I live, that means fruitful service for Christ. I really don’t know which is better. 23 I’m torn between two desires: Sometimes I want to live, and sometimes I long to go and be with Christ. That would be far better for me, 24 but it is better for you that I live (NLT).
I believe this is one of the most remarkable passages in all of Scripture. I hope I can properly depict to you the message Paul is conveying here. Paul was torn between two desires, but not the two most people would think of. The two desires most Christians struggle with are godliness and worldliness. They are torn between the lusts of their flesh and the longings of their spirit. They long to live for God with one foot in the world, but this is not even possible. It’s either one or the other; there is no in between.
This was not Paul’s dilemma. He was so in love with Jesus that he no longer thought about the pursuit of fleshly gain. He was torn between living for Christ and dying for Him. On the one hand, life meant fruitful service for Christ. If he remained alive, it was for the benefit of those who would hear his message.
On the other hand, death meant eternity with Christ. Spending eternity in fellowship with our Lord and Savior is the ultimate reward for those who live for Him, but Paul understood that dying would only benefit him. Because of his selfless nature, he counted his mission to share the Gospel as being more valuable than his desire to go be with Jesus. Wow!
I challenge you today to change your mindset. If you’re wrestling with worldly passions, crucify your sinful nature. I pray your dilemma becomes the same as Paul’s. Don’t get so caught up in daydreaming about eternity that you miss an opportunity to share the love of Jesus with someone.
Acts 20:24 — I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace (NIV).
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