“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”— Phil. 1:21.
How close life and death are! In this verse there is only a comma between them, and every one of us stands where that comma stands, between life and death. Life is the vestibule of death, and death is close on the heels of life. The systole and diastole; the throb and beat of the pulse; the swing of the pendulum this way or that!
Paul is enamoured with the joys of life. He was a toiler and a traveller, and lived amid the busy throng that jostled him in the streets. The philosopher, as he passed, carrying his scrolls of learning, said: “To me to live is knowledge”; the soldier, passing, looked with contempt on the man of letters, and said: “To me to live is fame”; the merchant in passing, said, with pride: “To me to live is riches”; the toiling masses passed by, saying: “To us to live is toil and trouble.” Amid all these, the Apostle strikes in with no bated breath, saying joyously: “To me to live is neither wealth, nor labour, nor fame, nor glory, but Christ.”—the origin of his life.
If we would become partakers of the Divine Nature, we also must have such a definite experience. We can trace our natural life back to our parents, and our spiritual life must begin in the hour when, in early childhood, or later, we are made partakers of the Nature of the Risen Saviour (John 1:12-13; 2Pe 1:4).
Christ must be the model of our life. Every man works to a model. Consciously or not, we are always imitating somebody, and every true follower of Christ seeks to approximate to the measuring of the stature of our Lord–“Beholding, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory.”
Christ must be the aim of life. That His will may be done on earth as in heaven; that others may know and love and serve Him as we do; that He may be the crowned King of men–that must be our purpose and aim. External things have no power over the one who can say: “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me”; then we can triumph over Death itself, and say: “To die is gain.”
The mountain peaks of the Christ-life that we would live call to us, but they often seem too steep and high for us to reach, but Thou knowest and hast an infinite compassion for Thy children. Fulfil in us the good pleasure of Thy will, and realise in us the ideals Thou hast taught us to cherish. AMEN. –F B Meyer