Philippians 1:21-39

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"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. And convinced of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again. Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ; so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents -- which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me." Philippians 1:21-39 NIV

I believe verses 21-26 has a powerful message of what our commitment to the Lord should be. The first being that as Christians death is a gain. As humans, it is so hard to grasp that being away from all we know here on earth is a gain. However, as Christians we must know that there is so much better and we will see that once we are face to face with God at his throne in Heaven.

The second message I believe is found in these scriptures (verses 21-26), is that while we are on this earth we should be fruitful in our labor for Christ. The Lord blessed us with life and we should use it to give back to Him and glorify Him. I certainly do not want to reach my end of time on this earth and realize that I did nothing to glorify God and further his kingdom. Currently, that is something that I am really pondering in my own life -- trying to determine what I am currently doing to be fruitful for the Lord (or not doing). I am then spending time in prayer to determine if that is where God wants me, and if not, what direction I should take instead. I'm also realizing that this doesn't have to always take the form of a teaching position at church, or a mission trip, etc. It can be in the simplest form of being a true friend to someone, helping someone in need, or smiling at a stranger I pass on the street. We never know how the simplest of gestures can affect someone's life to encourage them to continue thru the day or attend church because of something shared with them as a friend.

Verses 27 - 39 seem to carry a great message for churches today. Paul states in verse 27 "Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ; so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel." As a congregation of believers, we should conduct ourselves in a manner acceptable to God and we should do so in one spirit or in one united front. Our churches should be willing to move together out into our communities and be a living witness to all those around us. I have been a member of many churches over the years and one of things that has brought me to love the church I now attend is that we are fully committed to reaching out to our community. We do this in a number of ways -- we are involved in Habitat for Humanity and send teams out on a regular basis to build homes (we've even built two homes in our church parking lot), we host community wide prayer vigils for families in our community that are in need of prayer, and the list goes on and on. I truly believe a church must be out in the community to be truly effective.

These scriptures lead me to strive to work towards the following goals in my life:
    * To live a fruitful life for Christ each and every day

    * To continue uniting with my church family in God's work in our community

2 Thoughts Shared:

Grace said...

Welcome to our happy bloggy world! We're an interesting group!
Grins!
Grace

Blessedw4mom said...

Glad you are doing Pilippians! What a great book. Phil. 1:20-21 are the verses that were chosen to be carved into a memorial bench dedicated in my sister's memory at her church. She lived much like Paul, stood strongly for the Lord and endured many things ... what comfort she found in those words.

Blessings to you!