This morning in a study on humility I found myself somewhere else for a moment. Bob Deffinbaugh is giving background for Philippians 2:3-11.
"But what of Paul’s future? He would soon stand trial before Caesar. There was a good chance that he might be found guilty of treason, and if this were the case, he would be put to death. Paul could rejoice in the fact that the gospel was being advanced by his imprisonment, but how did the apostle feel about the very real possibility of his death? Paul tells us what we all should know: “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Living means living out the life of our Lord, depending upon God, proclaiming the gospel, and suffering rejection and persecution for doing so. Dying means instant entrance into the presence of God, free from suffering and pain and sorrow. Obviously, death is “gain” for the Christian. Paul knows that to remain behind not only meant suffering for him, but continued service to the saints. It was his conviction that God would most likely leave him on earth for a time, so that he might continue to strengthen and encourage the saints. Assured of this, Paul could boldly carry on his life’s mission, knowing that death held no fear for him, but only the promise of greater things to come."
As I read this I thought of Believers I know who fear death- who are somewhat scared to die. And also of Christians I know who so much look forward to dying it seems as though they have lost sight of the joy and responsibility of walking with God on this side of heaven (Phil 1). I do believe there is a right place to be, as evidenced by Paul in Philippians 2, "to live is Christ, to die is gain."
I hope that we, Followers of The Way, can see the Truth as Paul did. "Living means living out the life of our Lord, depending upon God, proclaiming the gospel, and suffering rejection and persecution for doing so. Dying means instant entrance into the presence of God, free from suffering and pain and sorrow. Obviously, death is “gain” for the Christian."
Living here on earth as His child is wonderful. Where to begin as there seems no end? Waking to breathe the air, to hear the voices of loved ones, touch their skin, smell their hair, see their smiles... to see a bird alight, watch a caterpillar crawl up a tree trunk, take a walk with a smiling dog... to see a baby born, watch a seedling break through the soil... to smell cookies baking, to drink ice cold lemonade on a hot summer day... to go to church and serve and worship Him with a room full of Believers, to share His love with our neighbor, to be the church... to fall at His feet in reverence and adoration, to "practice the presence of God"... and so it goes on and on and on. The gift of this life, here on earth, I do not deny. However, I also acknowledge what death means for those who have confessed with their mouths and believe in their hearts, and called upon the Name of the Lord (Romans 10).
It is my hope that I will fully live to His glory here upon His earth. It is my hope that as I live I will know the reality of life and death, "to live is Christ, to die is gain."