“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
— Philippians 1:21
If someone asked you what you live for, how would you respond? Some people seem to live for their next vacation. Others live for their retirement. Still others live for the weekend. But Paul expresses the best way to live. He declares that to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Too often, people want to rewrite the verse, replacing “Christ” with “pleasure.” “For to me, to live is pleasure,” cry a whole host of voices today. But pleasures fade quickly, and this lifestyle leads to ceaseless striving for one more thrill, one more good feeling.
Others would replace “Christ” with “money.” “For to me, to live is money.” These people spend most of their waking hours, energy, and thoughts trying to make money. Some of them desire to be truly wealthy, while others want just a little bit more than they presently have. A reporter once interviewed a fantastically wealthy man and asked him, “How much do you want?” The wealthy man replied, “Just a little bit more.” Do you live to gain wealth? If so, may I say that at the end of your life, your wealth will turn to ashes in your mouth, and you’ll find that the great deceiver has deceived you.
Others would say, “For to me, to live is fame.” They give their whole lives to accomplishment. Perhaps they rise to the top of the ladder. But then where are they? Many people who “make it” find themselves saying, “Is this all there is?” Like many who have risen to the pinnacle of success, they find nothing but the same emptiness that hounded them from the very beginning.
“For to me, to live is Christ.” This is the secret of life. Furthermore, it is the secret of consecration, the secret of commitment. I do not believe that you could take the meaning of consecration and commitment and express them more succinctly than Paul has in those seven words. Today ask God to show you how to live so that you can say, “For to me, to live is Christ.” Then follow the way He shows you so that you may live a life consecrated and committed to Him.