“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:21 (NASB)
It’s a very short verse for today with two statements by the Apostle Paul. Paul declares that this was his way of thinking – the center of his convictions. Paul’s main purpose in living was to glorify Christ. Christ was the essence of his life. That’s the meaning of the first statement: “to live is Christ.” There is nothing lost to those whose lives are fully dedicated to serve their Lord Jesus Christ and there will be much to gain. Perhaps in the days ahead we might look at more fully at this attitude. Paul’s second statement, again very personal, was: “to die is gain.” This might cause some to pause for a moment. But Paul was not morose, not clinically depressed. He had endured many physically difficulties and suffered for Christ and likely experienced periods of being emotionally down. Even so, Paul never lost his will to live – it was for Christ, remember? Not suicidal or suffering PTSD from his beatings and shipwrecks and imprisonments. Paul anticipated his death would actually relieve him and let him focus totally on glorifying God. That was the gain. He looked to gain fulfillment of God’s promises. Promises God made for all who believe.