For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain – Philippians 1:21
We are aware of heaven and anxious for its reward, but still we are apprehensive about death. Why? The daily devotional “A Good Thing” has this to say about the subject:
God has built into us a desire to live, and it should be our goal to be able to say with the Apostle, “to live is Christ.” Even with the remarkable experiences Paul had with the Lord he was still pressing toward the mark and desired to know Christ more intimately. May we each day in our fellowship with our Savior become more like Him in our walk and more dedicated in His service.
But as Paul continued to labor zealously in the kingdom of God, he thought and wrote a lot about heaven. He wrote that our present sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to come. He informs us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord and that we shall forever be with Him. No wonder, then, he would write, “to die is gain.”
It meant to gain freedom from the weaknesses of the flesh so that he would never again have to say, “O wretched man that I am!” He would gain the joy of living with Christ forever; he would gain the benefits of the inheritance which is reserved for all the saints.
He felt, though, a conflict. He had a desire to depart and to be with Christ but also saw it was needful to remain and minister to the churches. Surely, as God’s children, we should long to be with the Lord, but see there is work to be done here and want to labor faithfully until we are called home.
For the last 23 years this text has been, what some people call, my “life verse”. It touches my heart like nothing else can do. So,all I can say to the above is AMEN!