Bible Reading: Philippians 1:19-26
“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 honoured in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:20-21)
Paul had one purpose of living - the honour God both in life and in death. Because of this, every second he was alive, his life was dedicated to one single purpose: to fulfil God’s calling for him to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. Also, because of this, Paul was not afraid of death. Being able to meet God face to face was the greatest gift and hope that kept Paul going in his work on earth. For Paul, to live every day was to serve Christ, to know Christ, to follow Christ. For Paul, to die is gain to an eternal inheritance of being with God forever.
When we see such saints of God whose hearts are so inclined to God’s will, where do we see ourselves? Here are reflections to introspect our own hearts.
First, are we numb? Do we feel numb and feel no zeal or passion the way Paul does? Do we feel like we have no desire to serve God and live for Him endlessly? The truth is, maybe we don’t really know Him personally. It is easy to trick yourself into thinking you are a genuine follower of Christ if you have grown up in a Christian home. However, many of us have never been born again. We have never known who God truly is. We do not know of His personal working grace and the love of Christ, which is personally applied to us. We only know the Christian morals and the good catchphrases. However, we do not and cannot perceive the reality of our own sin, which corrupts everything.
What should you do? Ask for His mercy with a humble and open heart asking God to reveal Himself to you. Ask that you can know Him personally as you would know a friend. Ask God for Him to show you His glory because only that can change human lives. If God gives mercy, your life will be radically changed.
Second, we believe, but our hearts are lacking. At times we have a passion for God; other times, we doubt God. We would never call ourselves wholehearted like Paul; that would be hypocritical of us. What should we do? It is the same. We still rely on God to reveal Himself to us and give us spiritual growth. We must do our part in obedience to His Word, yet at the same time, we trust God that He will complete the work He began in us. Return to God, pray, and ask Him to cultivate a zeal to live for God again. I have had countless encounters with such experiences. Through these, I have learned that God is faithful. He will continue to work in us even when we think He isn’t. He cares for us. He really does.
Lastly, if we have been given a burden or zeal to live for Christ fully, we must give all our possible strength and energy until the moment we die. Wherever God has placed us, those around us need Christ. God has called us to be missionaries wherever we may be. We must be witnesses of the gospel and share the good news. No, not leave this until the last minute. We do not know when our time will end. Paul was ready for death because He knew that His life was doing God’s will and that if Hh died, God’s will for him on earth would be complete. How about us? If we died tomorrow, are we sure we have fulfilled God’s will? Have we given him our best and served him with all the talents we have?
If God gives us a chance, the zeal and the anointing, let us not be ignorant and lose the moment to serve God today as if it is our last day. Time does not wait or delay. We only have so much time left to serve God. May we be able to use every second of it until we die to surrender to Christ as King and serve Him with all that He has entrusted to us.
Lord, please plant in my heart a zeal to live for You and glorify You in both life and death. Stir our hearts with love for You; let us see Your glory and know who You truly are. Move us, Lord. Don’t let us be lazy. Instead, train us to live wholeheartedly and serve You with all that we have been entrusted with. In Jesus’ name, amen.