How many people can truly say that they love something more than life? Let alone, our God and Father Jesus! This is something that just hit me at the beginning of the week very strong. I was walking to my car to go to work at 5:30am. It came to me, "To die is gain!" Honestly, not many people want to even consider death. But Paul eagerly sought death. He wanted nothing more than to be with his King and Father in heaven! Are stated here in Philippians:
Philippians 1:20I 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.
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!
23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;
24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,
26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.
So why is it that Paul is so excited to get to heaven? What will it take for us as fellow believers to yearn for this same place?
Paul wants to leave to get to heaven. When I think about this I remember Comp II last week, my professor talked about how as people grow older, they are more looking forward to heaven and seeing loved ones than anything else. They are ready for the suffering they've done on this world to be over. (at least I believe it was Mike talking about this).
But isn't there more reasons to get to heaven? I mean we get to see Jesus! We get to praise Him for the rest of our lives.
But maybe this is the same reason we aren't ready to go to heaven, we aren't even prepared. We don't want to fully worship God yet. We would prefer to do what makes us happy. What makes us happy. What is found though, as people grow old, is that this doesn't bring true fulfillment. Only Christ and our faith in Him, brings us true fulfillment. Then we are truly free to live.
I love this though, people spend there whole lives running from the one thing that brings them true happiness. Though I must put a disclaimer, not everyone is running from it, some people are yet to realize that Christ is where they need to be. Why do we run from the rewards and freedom in life that Christ offers? It just baffles me.
Paul realizes that though he is longing for a better place, to see his Redeemer in heaven, that this is not God's plan, Christ is not finished with him yet here on earth. Since this isn't the plan, Paul is able to continue to advance the church and ultimately the Kingdom.
We will not fully realize that we are aliens to this land (Hebrews 11:13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth)
Til we have committed our lives to Jesus. When we are freely living in His will, then we will realize our full potential. Once we have realized our full potential, then and only then will we be able to fully grasp the excitement of going to heaven.
I have to admit I'm not quite there yet, I had the realization that "To Die is Gain" and I still feel that there is work for me to be done here. I feel it will not be until I realize that my work here on earth has been sufficient that I will be able to truly grasp. "To die is gain."
What we find throughout the church, and practically the world, is death is a little talked about subject. What Paul shows us through the Philippians is that we should be excited! If we are truly following and seeking Christ with all that we are, we will be wanting to be in heaven just like Paul was. But until then, we will be just as scared of death as we have always been.
(Title from "More Than Life" by Hillsong United)
* I'm gonna start doing like Alan does, I used to do this in my daily blogs. I started out with More Than Life by Hillsong United, One Way by Hillsong United, Consuming Fire by Hillsong United, Revolution by Jars of Clay, The Battle is Already Won by Keith Green, You Put This Love in My Heart by Keith Green, Tie me Up! Untie me! by mewithoutYou, My Glorious by Pierce, For The Moments I Feel Faint by Relient K.