For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
- Phil 1:21
Wowee, Paul! This bold statement in Philippians Chapter 1 is powerful. What can anyone do to Paul? Even death does not scare him!
Why? Because Paul has given his life to Jesus! Death for him is life with Christ!
If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. - Phil 1:21-23
Welcome back to Philippians! It's a good time to explore this book! Paul wrote this letter to the Christians in Philippi to thank them for the gift they had sent him and to strengthen these believers by showing them true joy comes from Jesus Christ alone.
Paul is in Roman Prison. His life has been peppered with church plantings, preaching, beatings, persecution, travel, shipwrecks, poverty, and every form of insult and rejection one can imagine.
Yet, Paul writes about JOY in Philippians. Go figure.
Stop and read Chapter one of Philippians: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=philippians%201&version=NIV
As you can see, Paul wants to equip the Philippians with strength to face their own persecution and he wants to tell them a not-so-secret secret:
There can be JOY in even the toughest Journey.
Paul knows things are gonna get tough for his friends. Guess what? We know things will get tough for anyone who walks this earth. No one is immune to problems.
But, Paul has some pointers:
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. -Phil 1: 27-28
One thing struck me about Paul's instructions: I am supposed to conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Hmmmm... How can I do that unless I open the Books of the Gospels (Matthew - John) and start reading?! I need to figure out what that conduct looks like by going to the Truth!
-Want to join me? Let's start with the Book of John: http://www.biblegateway.com.
I've decided I need to read the Bible every morning to equip myself for the day's challenges and interactions. I just ask God to equip me with understanding, patience, and wisdom to live in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ!
Let's finish up Philippians 1:
For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have. - Phil 1:29, 30
At the end of Phil 1, Paul is still in jail. Life is still a struggle.
Can you relate?
Let's see where Paul takes us in Chapter two -- I have a feeling I will be equipped to cope in a whole new way!
Read Chapter two and check back in in a couple of days!