For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Paul was in prison, in chains, and was ready to die to be with Jesus. He longed to be with the One who had set him free from the chains of his old life and had given him a brand new life. Having offered himself to God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1), Paul was willing to lay down his life in any way the Lord chose. Paul grew to find all his life’s meaning in Christ and could say with purpose and conviction, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)
As I contemplate what it means to lay my life down for Christ, finding all life’s meaning in Christ, I realize that I must ask myself the question “Am I willing to lay down my children, my husband, my home, my dreams…?” I can say those words, but what gives them meaning is complete trust in a faithful God. Behind every person or thing that I cling to is a place of lack of trust in my loving Father. So rather than ask yourself if you are willing to lay all down for Christ, a better question is “Do I trust God with all of my relationships, concerns, and all issues of life?”
Paul knew that real life begins and ends with Christ. He had lived life knowing and trusting Jesus Christ, and He had lived a life apart from Christ as a Pharisee. When he penned or spoke these words to a scribe, he was secure that, in life or death and through all things, Christ was his all. He was ready to die and yet willing to live. The physical chains may have kept him bound, but his life was far from bound. He was free in the richest sense – free to live and free to die. He had obtained perfect freedom.
As you reflect on these verses, ask the Lord to show you where you do not trust Him. Deal with issues of trust, and you will be free to lay down all concerns of life.
I long to let go of the concerns of this life. I invite the light of Christ to expose any areas where I do not trust You. I pray that You will lay an ax to the root of my fear, and I release to You and entrust into Your care my very life and the lives of those whom I dearly love.
In Jesus’ name, Amen