"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21).
Are these words of the Apostle Paul, stating his personal relationship with Jesus Christ, my words also? Are they yours? Paul was not stating these words to brag, nor was he confining their effect to only himself. These words should be heartfelt and part of every believer's life. It should be our "life verse". I have always said that my life verse is "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). Even that one is hard to live day by day. Being creatures of flesh, all of us are more prone to live this in reality "To me to live is to be successful, and to die is having to reluctantly leave it all behind".
Of course, to the lost world, living in Christ, walking in Christ, witnessing for Christ are all things that a madman does. Christ is dead, don't you know? He has been for nearly 2000 years, or so these blinded rebels say. What they are not seeing is that, yes, He died, but He is risen!
What made Paul different is that he met the resurrected Christ on the Damascus road, and thereafter he was never the same as before. He was a persecutor of the church, but now is a proclaimer of the gospel of the Christ that he once persecuted.
We are not even looking at this time at the second part of this verse. That talks about dying. No one wants to do that. Understandably so, for God so designed us with survival instincts, yet Paul says for him, to die is gain. We will examine that later. For now, focus on the living part. Is Christ so in us and our lives that we can say with Paul "To me to live is Christ"? That is a tall order. We cannot do it. In ourselves, at least, we cannot do it. The Holy Spirit (who is the Spirit of Christ), must be so in control of us that we do not live our own lives, as such, but "Christ liveth in me".
Our verse is perhaps the key verse of Philippians, and one of the most important in the Bible. Am I, are you, living it in application? I confess that I am not fully, but I sincerely want to do so. I am striving against sin daily. I am looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. Yet, I still fall short of the glory of God. I am not giving up, and with God as my helper, I am going to reach that place where I can say with Paul "For to me to live is Christ". How about you?
By Charles Woodruff 1/12/2010