September 12 – Life Verses – Philippians 1:21

Read Philippians 1:21

I remember seeing some shirts for young teens in a store and one sparkle-filled, bright pink shirt caught my attention.  It had in large black letters loaded with sequins the phrase “it’s all about me!”  I can only imagine the person who would wear that and what it would be like to be a friend to him or her.

I’m sure you’ve seen shirts with the motto YOLO on them.  It stands for You Only Live Once.  It was made popular in 2011 by a rapper.  It’s kind of become like a carpe diem kind of expression that is freeing people to do whatever they want because they only live once.  Life is defined in many different ways by people.  I’ve heard people say things like: “work is life” or “Starbucks is life” or “grandkids are life” or “sports are life”.  If someone decided to fill in the blank for your life how would they describe what the aim of your life was; “_ is life.”

That thought has been in my mind for decades as I ponder my life purpose and the verse that has guided me through the ups and downs of life.  The Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians and in chapter 1 he was discussing the tension he felt between continuing here on earth or being with God in Heaven.  Some days I’d rather just be with Jesus in Heaven and away from the burdens of this life.  Other days I don’t want to miss what’s going on in the lives of people I love.  It’s a real tension.  And he boils it down to this one phrase…which is my life verse:

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:21

This verse gives us 3 really important words for life:

Perspective.  Paul starts with “For to me.”  Life in Christ is not about you anymore.  You see everything differently.  Like in a football game when the quarterback is struggling and he comes off the field, puts on the headset, and is coached by someone up in the press box who sees the game from a different perspective.  Jesus gives us access to our Father who has an elevated perspective.

Purpose.  Next Paul gives a life mission statement when he says, “to live is Christ”.  In English class we learn the word “is” means an equal sign.  Life = Christ.  The fact that through Christ we have received forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit to guide us changes everything about our life.  We have hope to break chains and cycles and we live to make Jesus famous.  I want my life purpose to be all about Christ.

Promise.  Paul finishes with the phrase, “to die is gain.”  WHAT?!?  You can only believe death is better than life if you are confident that what is to come is better than what is now.  A relationship with Jesus promises us peace with God now and His presence forever in a place called Heaven.  It’s a promise of no more pain, suffering, or loss.  Paul essentially says, “the best is yet to come!”

So today make your aim His perspective, purpose, and promise:

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Nick Cleveland

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