Read Philippians 1:18b-26.
I love this text for it is simply so radical and challenging to me! I mean, can there actually be anything more radical about Christian faith than looking forward to death?
“I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far …” (vs.23)
Honestly now, how many believers do you know who are truly anxious to be with Christ? I know a multitude of Christians are anxious about meeting Jesus; they are anything but anxious to be with Jesus!
But perhaps there is one thought thought more radical than this in terms of faith in Christ, at least in the sense that it touches in a practical way everything we do every day. This disciple says life here is not about getting what we can, securing peace and comfort as we can and seeking pleasure and leisure how we will. Instead, he flatly declares that his life will be all about ministry, service and work for the blessing of others.
“If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. … for your progress and joy in the faith …” (vs.22,25)
That perspective of life is totally unlike most of the good people I know who populate church buildings any given Sunday everywhere. Again I’ll ask you, how many people do you know who have been Christians for ten or more years actually wrap their whole way of living around that sort of thinking?
So, if what you and I see each day done everywhere by most people who claim to be Christians is not at all in line with this sort of thinking, is not what the Spirit of God wills for our lives and is not, ultimately, from God at all, how will we as Christians find our way to the place where we deeply desire to encounter God and experience him forever, and in the meantime, pour out our lives in service for the sake of others and not ourselves?I believe Paul tells us:
“… through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ …” (vs.19)
Heavenly Father, stir us up as your people to passionately, purposefully and persistently pray for each other. Send your Son’s Spirit into our hearts that we might die to ourselves and live for you as he did, living for others. May our standard of what we are to become as his disciples not be merely what we see in the lives of most of those around us, but may the standard be set in conversation with you and our experience of you as we serve others before ourself. Amen.