19…for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 29as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life, or by death. 21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
— Philippians 1:19-21
There are many people who would wearily confess they simply exist. Day after day, it’s the same routine and they don’t expect anything special on the horizon of tomorrow. Though routine is necessary, we need reason for it, and that reason can make all the difference between merely existing and enjoying an exciting, purposeful life.
Our conscious reasons for living are naturally dependent upon staying alive. The moment we die, everything about us is gone, but in Philippians 1:20, Paul is saying, I have a reason for my life which transcends both living and dying, and that reason is for Christ to be exalted in my body. The King James translation says, “that Christ might be magnified in my body”. The purpose of magnifying something is to bring it into focus and make it large. We can’t make Christ any larger than He is, but we can make Him larger in us. We can exhibit a ‘bigger’ Jesus.
Paul goes on to say, For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Within that statement, there are four vital aspects of Christian living. First, the Christian life is personal. It’s “to me”, and involves an intimate relationship with our Lord. Second, it’s practical. It is to live. Centuries ago, Francis of Assisi trained his men in southern Italy by saying, “Wherever you go, whatever you do, make sure you preach Christ; if necessary use words.” Preaching Christ with our mouths closed is all in the way we live. The more Christ is revealed in us, the more reason for purposeful living.
Third, the Christian life is possible. It is Christ as my resources in life and my reason to live. We are intended to live in dependence on His indwelling Spirit, supplying all our needs, but without Christ, eventually we’ll run out of our resources. Fourth, the Christian life is permanent, To die is gain. In death we move on to even greater things that we cannot begin to grasp in this life.
When Christ is exalted in our lives, it is impossible to feel trapped in a pointless existence. Everything, from the whiff of a rose to the work we do, holds special meaning because God’s Spirit lives in us. It’s simply how we were designed!
PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Jesus, not only in my life but as my life. He is my reason and my resources. Enable me, Lord, in my everyday living, to exhibit a ‘bigger’ Jesus and through Your work in me, bring Christ to others. Amen.
- In what areas of my life could I decrease myself and increase Jesus?
- Do I demonstrate in my everyday living that Christ is exalted above all else?