January 27, 2013 Leave a comment
As you can see, I’ve been meditating on Paul’s famous words in Philippians 1:21,
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain
I’ve thought about what it meant for Paul (and thus what it should mean for me) to say these words. And I suppose my previous three posts have seen these words as the same answer to a variety of questions:
1. Where did this life you have come from? For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain
2. Where do you get the strength to live this life? For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain
3. What’s your motivation for living; what gets you out of bed in the morning? For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain
Today, I’m thinking of this verse as the answer to another question: What is your ultimate ambition in life?
Paul would write to the Romans about what God’s plan is for every Christian:
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Romans 8:29 ESV
Now there is a sense that this task will not be completed until we are called into Christ’s presence (e.g. 1 John 3:2), but that is not to say that there should not be progress along that route in this life. In fact, I think this is what Paul alludes to in 2 Corinthians 3,
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another…
2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV
Christians should be undergoing a transformation right now, making them more like Jesus Christ, and I think when Paul says ‘For to me to live is Christ…’ he is making just that point; Paul tries to make it so that every decision he makes in life and every act of service he does is with the aim of making him more like Christ. Now if the ultimate goal of our lives is to be like Christ, then we can most definitely say ‘…to die is gain’ because it is then that the work will be fully and perfectly completed.
What are my ultimate ambitions? Are they things which will come to a shuddering halt when I die, or are they things which finally reach completion when that day comes?