Sunday, January 13, 2008

To Die is Gain

"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." We all understand how (and hopefully strive) to fulfill the first part of this verse. As regenerate Christians, we strive to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to God. We weigh our decisions against the yardstick of scripture and the perfect example set for us by Christ.

But what does the second part of that verse mean? To die is gain. Dying to sin? Certainly that is one meaning. If we are to even try to be Christlike, we must die to our sinful nature and be truly reborn. It's not a matter of fixing our old life, it's a rebirth into a completely new one. One that is marked by our obedience and submission to the Father.

But "to die is gain" means something else as well. Out lives should be completely focused on the eternal implications of death when the end comes. This earth is completely temporal. The only thing that matters in this life is our obedience to God and our desire to glorify Him by being witnesses of His majesty and grace so that we may be used by the Holy Spirit to affect the eternal fate of those around us. Everything else is just dust in the wind. Our stuff, our jobs, even our relationships with those we love, all come in second to the command to love and obey God. We should be anxiously awaiting the time God has appointed for our deaths. We are assured of an inheritance far beyond the imagination and scope of man.

However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him."

I Corinthians 2:9


Even the apostle Paul was torn between being used by God during his time here on earth, and the ultimate joy of dying and being with Christ forever.

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.

Philippians 1:21-23


So while we are here, let's make a difference. Comfort the hurting, love the unlovely and bring the truth of the gospel to every person God places in our path. Let's die to the world and remember that our earthly death is simply a stepping stone to the glorious, eternal future of praising God forever. Let's be so filled with the Spirit that we long for death, in the sense that we will finally see our Saviour face to face.

8 comments:

The Young's said...

Amazing post!! The Lord has really been dealing with me about this scripture...and also the one where it talks about when we loose ourselves, we will find ourselves. This season of my life, being at home with two preschoolers, I have felt like I have lost who I really am...all that I thought I was, I am not anymore, and I don't even recognize who I am anymore. I was fretting to the Lord about it one day, and He brought those scriptures to my mind. As I "loose myself" or "die to myself"...it is there where I will "find myself" or "really begin to live". It was a total God moment for me. I realized that as He was emptying Me of Me....I would begin to find out exactly who he made ME to be! Anyway, thanks for sharing that scripture and thought. I needed to be reminded of this!! Great blog!!
Buffi

luvmy4sons said...

AMEN!

freetofly said...

This is one of my favorite aspects (I have several) of our faith...the paradox that to die is gain...that out of one death come many lives...(Jesus the first fruit among many brethren), 1 grain fails to the ground, up come many more...and the fact that this is ALL temporary! I mean how awesome is that to know, the worst that can happen is you get sent to heaven EARLY! Ohhh, punish me! I am being light hearted to some extent, but not completely! I LOVE that we serve an Extreme God! I love that I get to be a wife to an Extreme man & mother to 2 Extreme sons! And I come from a family of extremes! I just pray He keeps us all with our pilot lights lit, and our focus on Him...and if any of us deviate that He shows us how to get back on track - double time!

Great, great post! Inspiring! Time for coffee! :)

Greatfullivin said...

Oh Xandra...such wisdom from such a young woman! I must say I have never understood the weeping and wailing when a christan leaves this life. I have always felt a little wierd thinking physical death should be cause for celebration among christians. I could not even manage a tear when my Daddy died, for I knew it was much better for him. Thanks so much for sharing this scripture with us! Blessings!

Edge of Design said...

Love the unlovely. Easier said than done, huh?

Heather C said...

Tall orders indeed... only through the power of the Spirit... thank God for Him! :)

Great post, Xandra!

Heather

Rhonda said...

I love this reminder! Unfortunately it is so easy to get caught up in our 'everyday' that we lose what our real focus is supposed to.

This was very well written!

TammieFay said...

Thanks for the reminder sweet friend. Words of truth if ever I heard them!