A Challenge

CB2014 043-LR

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

Philippians 1:18b-26

Have you ever wanted to see what real faith looks like? Read this passage!

As he waits for his trial, knowing fully that the likely verdict will be death, he believes that his situation will result in his deliverance; either way.  He believes that even should he die, that he will not be “ashamed” and that he will have the courage to exalt Christ in his body.  You can see the connection he makes between “ashamed” on the one hand and “courage” on the other.  If he is sentenced to die, he will walk to the execution with his head held high as one who is looking forward to being with Christ.

Then comes that famous verse, verse 21: For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 

Just look at hat troubles him!  He is having a hard time deciding which is better; life or death.  If he lives on in the body, he will have much work to do for the cause of Christ, but he is to die in the body, he will be with Christ.  What a choice!  He would rather be with Christ and away from this life, and yet he seems to think that maybe it would be better for everyone else if he remains alive a while longer so that he may continue to mentor them in the faith.

Let’s think about this, pray about this and reflect.  This was no hypothetical question for Paul;; it was very real.  What was his primary concern?  It was to continue the glorious work of Christ here on earth so that many would come to salvation. Paul was 1000% motivated by God’s purpose.  How does this strike you?

How does this strike me?  To be honest about it, it’s a little embarrassing.  How often do I think I need a “break”? How often do I hesitate because I don’t want to tick anybody off, or because I don’t want to look foolish…?  Could I look death square in the eye and not blink?

I’ll get back to you on that.

Yes, dear reader, this passage is one for deep reflection and self-examination.  Here’s the question to ask:

Is God speaking to me in this text?

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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16 Responses to A Challenge

  1. paulfg says:

    Don, yikes. indeed. And puts the conversation I am having right in context. That question: “Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two…” in a very real “here and now” for Paul. WOW!

    And my question (I think): Yet what shall I choose? I do know! Not to “look” stupid!! WOW!!

  2. Pam says:

    If I am to live here, then I must be a consistent witness for the Lord. I must not shun the fact that I am a believer. I must be bold in who I am, and whose I am. I must continue to stand strong in Who I believe.

  3. Elaine says:

    Definitely this is a passage that demands deep reflection! At this time in my life I doubt that I could look death in the eye and not blink. Yes I know where I am going once I die , but I don’t feel ready yet. I feel like I have a lot more living to do. I pray that God agrees. Does that seem selfish?

  4. Reblogged this on Susan's Reflections and commented:
    I wanted to share this insightful blog. It looks at Paul as he ponders whether he would prefer to die and go to be with Christ or continue to work to share the Gospel with others. What an awesome choice! It is a win-win!

  5. I struggle with this in my personal life, for sure, idolizing things that don’t satisfying and being enslaved by things that only lie. Fear. Food. Future husband. Forever? No. That’s God! To live IS Christ because He IS life. “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12). God is so good and thank you for posting!!!!

  6. vwoods1212 says:

    I think plenty of us say, I’m not afraid to die, then when that time comes, living looks so much better..:) vw

  7. cjp88 says:

    May Father bless you in your walk Don! This is spot on! Absolutely motivational and something we all must aspire to! Excellent! One of the best ones I have read yet!

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