Thursday, October 4, 2012

To Live Is…?

Photo Credit

During my morning devotional time I have been studying from the book of Philippians, with a focus on joy. More specifically, what is it about Paul, a man in prison, who could write a book on joy. Prison was not the only tribulation Paul faced, consider this:

24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—  (2 Corinthians 11:24-27 NKJV)

I touched on Paul’s joy in my last post. This week I wish to share with you one more nugget of truth.

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

As I read this passage of scripture, I must ponder how I would word this sentence as it applies to me. “For me to live is______ and to die is ______.” Fill in the blanks.  I do not know about you, but the second part, I could say. That is, “to die is gain.” This I know as a believer in Christ Jesus, I have a future in heaven well beyond my wildest immigration. I desire to live for whatever time God has appointed for me. However, I sure do look forward to what awaits me once I step into eternity.

Now for the first part, could I truly say, “For me to live is Christ?” Yea, I could say it, but how honest would I be with myself? Would this be more accurate? “To live is me?” 

Yes, I love Jesus. I love serving and going to church. I enjoy me relationship with the Lord. I love other believers. However, in this fallen sinful state, I want myself to come first. Just think for a moment of the troubles we face which are the results of selfishness.

Paul was a different breed. In spite of all his hardships, Paul lived a successful and fulfilling life in the Lord. A life overflowing with joy. After Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, he lived for Christ. Here in lies another nugget of truth. Paul lived an unselfish life. He was a man who could say, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” “Paul’s life was not his own, but for the glory of Christ. He dedicated his life to living in the will of God and advancing the gospel. He was willing to go through what ever for the benefit of others. He rejoiced in the gospel going forth. With this attitude, how could he be anything but joyful?


  1. Ken, I was reading in Acts this week, too. So amazing how God had divine appointments for Paul, even when it looked like things were going all wrong! Thanks for sharing your insights.

  2. Paul had no doubt to who Jesus was. His faith was great. His lack of doubt is a great testimony to me that Christ is real...His word is real.

  3. I find Paul to be so honest with His struggles...He led such a great life of faith...He was always content with whatever state he was in...we need to be very brave to want this kind of faith, for it was learned through much hardship...honestly, I do not think I am brave enough to achieve that level of faith. I do know however, through the tough times is when I learned to trust Jesus.
    Sometimes it's not the dying, but the living that can get hard. I read recently:
    That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and wont last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we dont look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
    2 Cor. 4:16-18 (NLT)

  4. Karen, God sure did have diving appointments for Paul. God used all the things Paul went through and turned in into good.

    Dee, you are so right. If Christ had not been working in Paul, there would be no way Paul could have done anything close to what he did.

    Never Forsaken, I love the passage you shared with me in your comment. That was one of the many passages I held tight to when I was grieving the passing of my first wife a few years ago. During our hardest times, Jesus does His greatest works in us. But I sure do not want any more trials and hardships.

    Thanks to all for your comments and God bless,

  5. Ken,

    Some challenging scriptures to think about. live is me? Sometimes that's the case. But praise God...I'm a work in progress and continuing to grow in wisdom, knowledge, truth and love.

    Thanks for calling us to examine ourselves in light of God's word.

    Susan's great to have you back blogging. Hope you and your precious bride are doing well.

  6. I would love to embrace the true joy that Paul had; He saw good in every situation. I know I often put myself first, and can be awfully selfish at times. How richer my life would be if I always put God first! I am thankful for posts like this (and God's word's of encouragement!) to keep me on track!

    Blessings and love my friend!

  7. A convicting post. Although I desire to live for Christ alone, I'm afraid my self gets too often in e way.

  8. Wow. Wonderful post Ken. Paul I am learning more and more about his character. Thank you for sharing. Blessings. Love that scenic picture too.

  9. I do consider all of the ideas you’ve offered on your post. They’re very convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too short for starters. Could you please lengthen them a bit from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  10. Hi Ken,
    I have been without my computer for a while, but am now all set up and ready to roll.

    I LOVE this verse and it is my life verse. I am trying to live it out to the word. You bet self gets in the way often, it is like having to die to self every minute of the day. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail miserably. :(

    Paul was very special and I crave and encounter with the Living God in the way he encountered Him, but I am fearful of how I would react.

    Thanks for sharing another really good word with all of us.

    Blessings brother,

  11. I am sorry it took so long to reply to your comments, I just returned from vacation.

    Susan--Yes, my wife and I are doing well. Thank you for asking. I find there is a daily battle with the flesh because I want to be in first place.

    Denise--I too am striving to see good in every situation. Philippians is probably my favorite book in the Bible because I desire that joy Paul had.

    Peggy--Me too!

    JBR--I am amazed with Paul and the attitude he had.

    Anonymous--Thank you for visiting my blog and your comment.

    Child of God--Praise God, I am glad you are back on line. God did an amazing work through Paul. Paul sure did have an amazing encounter with God.

    Thank you all for your comments and may God bless you,

  12. I read those scripture not long ago and it struck me, how we complain so easily when we really have nothing to complain about, compared to Paul.
    I think of the prisons of those days and how cold,dirty, dismal and dark they probably the cruelty of those beatings, and yet, Paul rejoiced. It put me to shame to read that.. And it has made me look closer at myself and all my blessings and be more thankful.
    Blessings to you and your wife.


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