Philippians 1:21 ,”For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
These were the words of Rollie the gent I met today at the old people’s home. He said these words with all seriousness and passion. A guy in his late 90’s and still as hardcore as the day he came to a personal faith in Jesus Christ. His assurance and confidence was infectious, a true Spartan of the faith that through his example gave a younger Christian (me) an example to follow. Like Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ”. Rollie is a fantastic example.
What does Rollie mean when he says, To live is Christ and to die is gain?
TO LIVE IS CHRIST
Jesus Christ, whom Paul had a life altering encounter with and ended up transforming his life had become everything to Paul, he became Paul’s all in all. After having such a life transforming encounter Paul became saturated and overwhelmed with Christ’s love for him, a sinner, and his only desire was to preach and teach the Gospel, share Jesus with anyone, see people grow, change, transform and come to faith in Christ. This was Paul’s aim and goal, to glorify God.
TO DIE IS GAIN
If Christ was everything to Paul and his only desire was to share the Gospel with the world, to live and breathe Christ, then living was Christ, living was doing the will of God and that was epic for him. The gospel of Christ transformed him; so to tell others about Christ was his life. Death could not separate him from God. So to live was to share, live and breath Christ; to die was to be home with HIM forever. Nothing distracted him or took the place of this new found identity in Christ.
Rollie the chap i mentioned earlier has been living this out into his late 90’s.
So, to live is Christ means that while we are alive and here on Earth, we pursue the Lord with a passion and everything comes out of this relationship and is influenced by it. Your family, job, hobbies, friends etc.
And to die is gain means that even though we have the opportunity to pursue the Lord and enjoy all these wonderful blessings from Him here on Earth, we must not hold on too tightly to them as we will one day be standing before HIM, and he is worth much much more.
Be imitators of Christ in your earthly life and look forward to the day you stand before the king of kings.