Paul had just stated in Philippians 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” However, in today’s passage he goes on to explain these words in verses 1:22-26. “If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.”
Paul is torn between the desire to be with Jesus and the desire to be with believers working to spread the gospel and for Christ. Paul doesn’t know what the future holds for him but he rejoices in the assurance that God holds the future! (Sounds like today huh!) He knows that God’s plans can be trusted and are good for him. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Paul also knows how the fellowship with other believers, the work of preaching, disciplining and proclaiming Christ is also good. He loves his fellow co-workers and loves seeing their joy in Christ and the glory they all bring to God.
Therefore, Paul is good with either way the future unfolds. He knows he will have joy in either case- death and moving into the presence of God (remember Paul is imprisoned at this point awaiting Caesar’s judgement) or life and continued fellowship and spread of the gospel here on earth.
What about you? Do you trust God with your future? Are you assured of eternal life with Christ as Paul was? I have listed the following verses below for you to mediate upon and claim their truths in your life. I pray they will bring you reassurance: John 3:16, John 3:36, John 6:47, Romans 6:23, 1 John 2:25, 1 John 5:11. (Printed out below)
Today my joy is increased as I know:
- In death I will be with Jesus (verse 23)
- The life I now have in Christ, in faith, is cause for joy. (25)
- Fellowshipping with other believers, working in the cause of Christ brings me joy. (26)
May your joy be solidly rooted in Jesus as you walk in faith and trust in Almighty God.
John 3:16 ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
John 6:47 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.”
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
1 John 2:25 “And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.”
1 John 5:11 “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”
Eternal life with Jesus is a sure thing for the believer. Live like you believe it today!