For to me to live is Christ
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. Philippians 1:20-21
From the text, Paul expressed his eager expectation that when the time comes when he will face death or he will be delivered from his imprisonment, he will not be ashamed of his faith. Whether in life or in death, Paul was assured that he faithfully lived his life for God’s glory. Though he already went through hundreds of lashes and a thousand humiliations and still did not know what pains and humiliations awaited him when he will be before Caesar for his trial yet, there was no fear in Paul. He was still confident that everything that will happen will bring glory to God. The reason for his assured hope and confidence is the presence of Christ in his life. “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10). This was why he could say, “For to me to live is Christ.” At the deepest level he knew that Christ was in him and he was in Christ. This is the description of what every believer had experienced when they trusted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. To say with Paul, “For to me to live is Christ,” should not come from sentimentality or a wishful thinking of a trouble-free life but should be a joyous declaration embracing the cost of living for Christ. Such declaration means that Christ was at the conscious center of everything. “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Paul’s confident dictum runs contrary to the prevailing precept in his time and now. Most will fill in the blank of “For to me to live is ____,” with anything but Christ. As you face this New Year, how would you fill in the blank? If all we care about is Christ and He is all that matters to us, whatever the future may hold we could say with Paul, “to die is gain.” We will rejoice to whatever Christ will decide for our lives.
Have a fruitful New Year!
Noel De Guzman