"FOR ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST"
Charles E. Burch
The great apostle Paul, while in a Roman prison, penned these words: "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). Paul's aim was not self honor, gold, pleasure or worldly learning; but to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. This was the single purpose of his life. A purpose to which he devoted himself continually. As we look at what Paul wrote, there are several things implied in glorifying Christ.
1. A purpose to know as much of Christ as it was possible to know. Paul wrote: "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings ..." (Philippians 3:10).
2. A purpose to imitate Christ, to make him the model of his life. He wrote: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Paul’s life reflected the life of Christ. He didn’t have to tell people he was a Christian, his life revealed that fact. They saw the life of Christ, in the apostle.
3. A purpose to make the gospel known, as far as possible among mankind. To this Paul seriously gave his life. No one in the New Testament worked any harder, for a cause, than the apostle Paul. He wrote: "...woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel" (I Corinthians 9:16). He said he was a debtor to all. To the Roman church he wrote, “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also” (Romans 1:14-15).
4. It was his purpose to enjoy Christ. He drew his comforts from him. His happiness, he found in communion with him. Paul never had an occasion to regret his course. It produced no sadness when he looked over his life. He never felt that he had an unworthy aim in living.
5. It prepared him for death. The Hebrew writer stated: "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). Paul did not fear the judgment! It is believed that he wrote the book of Second Timothy shortly before he was put to death. He stated his conviction and his readiness to die in the following words. "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing" (II Timothy 4:6-8). Paul wasn't just writing, but stating his true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We can have the same attitude as this great apostle, if we have the same goal as he, and are willing to work toward that goal as he did. What is your goal??