Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me. —Philippians 1:25–26
Paul’s great desire, his great joy was to serve Christ and to fulfill his mission of building the church. He knew that his death would bring great discouragement among the early Christians, and would cause a major setback in the faith of many believers. He also knew that his acquittal and release would strengthen their faith, for they would know that God alone was behind such a victory.
Paul knew that he would die. Eventually. But something in his spirit told him that God still had work for him to do. Intuitively, he knew that his trial would be successful, and that he would be set free.
This great hero of faith was devoted to Christ. He told us so in verse 21, when he said, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Christ was his reason for life and for death! For all Christians, Jesus Christ is the bridge between life and death.
While we are here – Christ. When we die – Christ. Without Christ, we simply have the sentence, “For me, to live is … to die.” We will all die. But because we have Christ, we have a reason, a purpose for both life and death.
Do you have that purpose, my friend? Are you joyful to go on living, so that you can do the work which God has placed before you? Are you joyful in knowing that death brings with it an eternity with the One you love? Or do you just live, knowing that you will one day die?
God wants, more than anything, to give you the purpose and joy that you desire. Ask Him for it, by believing in His Son, Jesus Christ. Then, you will no longer live to die. You will live with purpose, and you will die with joyful expectancy.
Dear Father, Thank you for the purpose that comes with knowing You.