…and to die is gain” as the apostle Paul proclaimed in Philippians 1:21. What exactly does this mean though and how does it relate to the Christian walk? As I type this on my laptop, my battery charger is currently not working and the battery is getting near the end of its charge. In a similar way, every person has a limited amount of time they are given to live, some may be given 100 years or more while others may have just a few hours, days, or weeks of life left. Whatever the case may be, our time is limited and therefore should be lived with a purpose. Unfortunately, many people try to take the things of life and use them to take the place of God instead. In reading Psalm 119 this morning, verses 1-4 caught my attention and here is what those verses say: “How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord. How blessed are those who observe [lit. keep] His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart. They also do no unrighteousness; they walk in His ways. You have ordained Your precepts, that we should keep them diligently.” In reading through this and subsequent passages I was reminded of the purpose and goal of the Christian walk, namely that we should be diligently seeking God with our time. In the busy schedule of life it is many times hard to spend time with God, and unless we decide to set aside a certain time to spend with God each day the most likely result will be to put God off and give Him the “leftover time” of our day, if any at all. I have noticed this in my own personal life at times, pushing God aside and saying that my school work was more important than spending time with God. During these times the struggle spiritually was much greater, and recent days have proved the power of God’s Word as it can change a person’s heart and desires. So for us as Christians we must be seeking diligently after God and walking after His commandments, for our love for God is shown in whether or not we follow His commandments. Paul’s quote in Philippians 1:21 indicates a greater purpose in life than what we commonly see; every day presents opportunities to bring glory to God. Think about the person who may be sitting at a lunch table alone with no one to talk to, or those around you at church, school, or work who may appear fine on the outside but hurting on the inside. How about taking the time to invest a part of our day encouraging others spiritually or spending an hour or more reading the Bible and praying? What about those most of all who we pass by so frequently without even a thought as to their eternal destiny, unconcerned about their soul but more concerned with our trivial daily matters? It seems unlike Paul we today have focused our minds and attention on both the present and temporal rather than the future and eternal. God has called us to invest everything into serving Him and building His Kingdom, including our time, money, and opportunities we are presented with. I believe many times God gives us opportunities each day to have an impact on a person’s life or even offer an encouraging word to someone, but we are so focused on our own problems instead of the needs of others that we miss these opportunities and overlook the importance of them. Our lives are to be lived for Christ, and if as Paul said to “live is Christ” then each day presents opportunities to live for God and most importantly glorify God. We exist to bring glory to God and to serve Him, anything apart from this is a life wasted and lived in vain contrary to what God has called us to live. I can only think of Paul as he sits in the prison cell and recounts the life he has lived, knowing that in death he will finally meet his wonderful Savior face to face while life presents further opportunities to bring glory to God. If we are to know God and serve Him better, we need to be spending time with God in prayer and Bible reading. Ask yourself this question, what would you be willing to give up throughout your day in order to spend more time with God? Or what are you willing to do in order to reach out to those who need Christ or someone who needs a good friend? In summary, our life is not our own, it is God’s. To live for self is to live completely apart from God’s intended purpose for your life and glorify God. If the people in the world are living for everything except God, then how can we expect to be the “salt and light” of this world if we are living for the same pursuits and desires as they are? May we by God’s grace seek to live daily to demonstrate the radical change God has made in us and in our lives, giving our all to Him no matter what He asks.
“To live is Christ…