30 October 2010

Philippians 1:12-26

"For to me, living is Christ, and dying is gain." (v.21)


Paul is in prison. He knows that he will either be released or he will be executed, but has no way of knowing which it will be. He has been arrested for preaching the gospel, and has appealed to the Roman Emperor to hear his case. In the meantime he is under house arrest, where he can receive visitors and write letters, but where his physical freedom is severely restricted (Acts 28:14-31). Paul is incredibly selfless in his attitude. He accepts his imprisonment and continues to do all he can to support those who are spreading God's good news. However, he does comment that some are only preaching for personal gain (verse 17).

Paul refuses to back down about his faith. His lack of personal possessions does not worry him because he knows that he will be richly rewarded in heaven.

Those who do not believe in the afterlife are focused on having everything in this brief earthly life. This can lead to a life spent striving for more and more things, instead of enjoying the things we already have. Paul reminds us that we have time to enjoy the simple blessings of this life, and time to spend building a relationship with God. Money, power and wealth will mean nothing when we meet with God in heaven.

Paul's life is lived in Christ's service, and death will be the gateway to living alongside God. He has great faith that God will continue to provide for his physical needs and gives all his energy to supporting others and spreading the gospel. The purpose of his life is to love God.

To Ponder

Paul devoted his life to loving God. What is the purpose of your life?

Some people say they are Christians to gain political or social standing. What is your faith focused on? God? Personal gain? Something else?

Paul spoke out for God even though he knew this would get him into trouble. What risks are you willing to take for Christ?