Viewing life with a vantage point of the end
For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. Philippians 1:20-23
When the Apostle Paul wrote the Book of Philippians, he was going through tremendous trial. He was imprisoned and he was waiting for God’s will if he will die or he would be let out in prison. Yet instead of wallowing from his situation, his attitude was still of dependence and trust in God. What he presented in these passages are not easy truths to take. But nevertheless they are solid truths that every Christ’s followers should live by. You would not be able to control your circumstances but you can control your response. And your response is dependent upon your growing relationship with God. Just like Paul, when we are confronted with something that threatens the temporary nature of life, we cannot pretend and presume that everything will always be right. However, it matters that we can come to terms that when you are in Christ and your faith is in Him we can have a different view than those who do not have Christ in life when facing remarkable challenges in life. Paul’s admonition to us is to have a different perspective regarding death. For him it was not something to be feared but a transition of seeing Christ face to face which he declared as a gain. When you do not have the right perspective on death, you will also have a wrong view about life. Paul was aware that he was facing a tough situation inspite of the fact that he is innocent but he also knew the reality that Emperor Nero was ruthless and has been putting Christians to death. He longed to depart and be with Christ but at the same time if it will not be God’s plan yet for his life, it will still be a joy and a privilege to serve God while here on earth. Having this perspective is also the reason why he could find joy even in the midst of difficult challenges in life. Real joy is not dependent on what circumstances you are in but in your relationship with the Lord. “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) We should see the obvious point here; sorrows and trials should be viewed with having a vantage point of the end. Life at times is filled with pain and sorrows but with a view of what is in the other side of God’s promise of His presence for eternity, trials while here on earth becomes bearable and you can endure. So while in this life, live for Christ. “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).