“…according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” ~Philippians 1:19-21 (NKJV)
One of my duties in Viet Nam was to be part of a sniffer team. As a component of this duty, I had to fly in a helicopter. A sniffer was a machine designed to pick up the scent of the enemy below, traveling at a moderate rate of speed and at tree-top level. As part of my routine before the mission, I prayed. You might think, yeah, I would too! But the substance of my prayer was not to save me from death, but that in the “heat of battle”, I would not dishonor my Lord. When people know you are a believer, they watch you closely (I think there is an object lesson here?). They have certain expectations about you and your professed faith. They wait to see how you handle tough situations in life. In that regard, I think Paul must have had similar concerns.
If you look at the Scripture, you will agree with me that he wanted to live his life on purpose. Because, he understood that a life without purpose is an empty life. If we’re living for ourselves, what a disappointment we will be to ourselves in the final analysis.
Paul wrote in this text: “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (NIV)
As believers, your purpose and mine is to please God, nothing else. Colossians 1:9-12 reminds us of this, of course,“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” (NIV)
In another place (2 Corinthians 5:15) Paul wrote: “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (NIV)
Pastor John Roberts
Please welcome our Sunday morning contributing writer, Pastor John Roberts. John is the pastor of New Hope Fellowship in the great Northwest where he resides with his wife of 46 years.
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