Avoiding Cheap Substitutes

“For to me, to continue living is Christ, and to die is gain.”

— Philippians 1:21

This statement from Paul should be engraved like an intaglio upon the heart of every Christian. However, there are many cheap substitutes that clamor for our attention that we must eschew. To live is…


“For me to live is pleasure,” cry a whole host of voices today. For surely the Bible says that sin has its pleasure for a season—then come the consequences.


There are others who would replace Christ with “money.” “For me to live is money.” They spend most of their waking hours, energy, and thoughts, trying to gain money. But to what ultimate end?


Others would say: “For me to live is fame.” They give their whole lives to its accomplishment. Perhaps they rise to the top of the ladder, but where are they then? They find themselves saying, “Is this all there is?” How many realize that the ladder they have sold their soul to climb is leaning on the wrong building?


To live for Him is the secret of life. He goes on to say, “…and to die is gain.” Consider the other substitutes: For me to live is pleasure/wealth/fame/etc., and to die is an unutterable tragedy; it is the loss of all I spent my whole life working for. How sad it is that so many do not find until they are at the very brink of eternity that they have spent their lives foolishly.

Lord of wisdom and power, give me strength for today to not accept cheap substitutes. Allow me to experience the true riches found in You. Help me to be eternally grateful for Your sacrifice for me. When I come to my own death, let it be my eternal gain…