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For To Me, To Live Is Christ, And To Die Is Gain

  1. Paul wrote, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. So, what shall I choose? I do not know. I am torn between the two. I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better indeed. But it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body." (Philippians 1:21-24) Although I cannot wait to be in heaven forevermore, I do thank and praise the Lord for keeping me here on earth for His good purpose. Jesus told us that there are but a few servants who remain here on earth and the harvest of lost and hurting people are many. Thus, it is our purpose to completely invest ourselves in Christ and separate ourselves from the ways of this world.

    Therefore, Christ has purposed for us, the Church (His Body), to do His will while here on this earth to reach as many as possible before the final hour. This is a life that has nothing to do with buildings, organizations, rituals, or any of the manmade practices claiming the name of Christ. This is the work of the chosen few who remain here because Jesus desires that none should perish. This is the work of those who are in Christ, the true servants seeking to surrender their lives by picking up their own cross and follow Jesus each and every day. It is a hard thing to stay on this path; I mean truly stay on this path. The world is full of distractions that cause us to go astray even though we do not wish to. I know this to be true from my own life and regret the many days I have failed to live for Christ. Too many times I have found myself mislead and off of the narrow path Jesus spoke of. None of us are free from this peril and that is why Jesus desires for His Body to bond together in His love. This way He can use each one of us to help each other to stay on the narrow path of righteousness.

    So many become distracted by the business that occupies their lives, but what are we truly doing to curb this behavior? Are we reaching out to others who are also striving to stay on the narrow path of righteousness? Or are we seeking out others in today's manmade "Christianity" that follows a broad path going nowhere in the end. This is the all too familiar refuge where we can blend in and hide among so many others who doing the same thing. I know what this life is like, I have tasted it in my own life more than once. I have only Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to thank for leading me out of these manmade practices and onto the narrow path that only He can place us on.

    Jesus spoke of this better way. It is not getting busy for Jesus as many would claim, but instead it is about becoming a true servant of the kingdom. Many make boasts about the things they are doing for the Lord thinking that this will in some way bring glory to God. It won't, in fact in the end it will do just the opposite. This is illustrated in the Gospel of Luke. When Martha was in the midst of her hustle and bustle to "serve" the Lord, her sister Mary engaged Jesus by simply sitting at His feet. "But Martha was distracted by all the preparations to be made. She came to Jesus and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me!" "Martha, Martha," the Lord replied, "you are worried and upset about many things. But only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:40-42)

    Jesus tells us not to worry about the busy things we think need to be done. Instead, He tells us that if we take time to just sit at His feet, we are doing the good portion of what it means to serve Christ. The people of this world strive after so many things because they believe this is what they must do to make ends meet. Similarly, far too may who claim to serve Christ think this is how to be a good servant. However, Jesus tells us to, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:33-34) Thus, if we choose to turn away from our lives in this world to humbly seek the kingdom first, we begin to understand what Paul meant when he said "to live is Christ." The key here is to find true humility in being a servant. Jesus said, "Be careful not to perform your righteous acts before men to be seen by them. If you do, you will have NO reward from your Father in heaven. So, when you give to the needy, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their full reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:1-4)

    About Author

    I grew up in New York as one of ten siblings. Once graduating high school in 1976, I entered the United States Air Force. On June 6, 1982 I personally met my savior Jesus Christ. In spite of my many shortcomings, the Lord has continued to shape my life to serve alongside others who have experienced spiritual rebirth and are part of the Church, the Body of Christ. I now reside in New Jersey and am blessed with a beautiful family, wonderful fellowship, and best of all eternal life found in Jesus.


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