What Are You Living For?

Joy in Suffering

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).


Sometimes when I want to dig deeper into a Bible verse, I insert different words – sometimes opposites -- to help draw attention to the importance and power of the actual words of the passage. This time, Charles Swindoll, in his joy-filled book Laugh Again, has done it for me. Here are his efforts to help us better understand this verse:

  • For me to live is money . . . and to die is to leave it all behind
  • For me to live is fame . . . and to die is to be quickly forgotten
  • For me to live is power and influence . . . and to die is to lose both
  • For me to live is possessions . . . and to die is to depart with nothing in my hands

You might be able to add a few of your own, such as:

  • For me to live is FaceBook friends . . . and to die is to have my page deleted
  • For me to live is to have a tidy home . . . and to die is to have untidy people move in

You get the idea! When we insert the values of our world system, I hope you see how shallow – or definitely lacking in eternal import -- some of our values really are. And that’s the big point of Paul’s statement. 

For Paul, living in Christ was his source of joy, his reason to live – his number one priority. He found his joy in glorifying his Savior; and if he continued to live, he hoped his joy would be contagious and the faith of his fellow-believers would be strengthened. 

But then he said, “and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). The apostle Paul was reminding us that, if he died, he would be with Christ in eternity – what could be more wonderful than that!

In fact, we could come up with a couple of updated statements along that line:

  • For me to live is having a delightful sense of style or fashion – to die is to be clothed in His righteousness alone
  • For me to live is making a hole in one . . . and to die is to be with the One who makes me whole
  • For me to live is doing lots of good things – to die is to be in the presence of the King of Kings

Dear believer, what are you living for?

By Judy Shrout

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