To Live is Christ, and to Die is Gain

Nena Arias | August 2, 2021

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain”
(Philippians 1:21)

It takes a very secure person to pronounce these words in Philippians 1:21. These were written by the apostle Paul of the Bible. In a short sentence of just twelve words, he declared his life’s purpose and the assurance of what awaited him after his physical death. That should be the goal of every person.

Every human being that has ever lived or will ever live needs to know why they are alive. When a person’s purpose for living is not clear to them, they feel like they are only drifting in the sea of life without a rudder—no direction, no control, and no real meaning. Everything seems empty, and in time no longer satisfies.

Believers in Christ that have had a true born-again experience are called, from that moment on, to live for eternity beginning here and now. What does that mean? What does that look like? That means that everything we do must meet the requirement of investing our life to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and we also love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:36-39). We do not live for this life only. We make sure that every word and every action count for God’s purposes which are always eternal. Having in mind the perspective of eternity helps us to live the kind of life that has eternal benefits and not settle for earthly temporal gratifications.

We seek to follow the example of Jesus’s earthly life. How did Jesus live? First and foremost, he lived a sinless life and he died so we can too. He sought to do the will of his heavenly Father who sent him with a very specific mission. At the end of his earthly life, Jesus could confidently say, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do” (John 17:4). Because he did, we can too.

While on earth, Jesus did not focus on material wealth or possessions, yet he lacked nothing. He lived a simple life materially speaking. Does that mean that he is against us gaining wealth and possessions? No! Only when our sole emphasis, time, effort, and investment on earthly things is all we live for and we forget about others who are in need. There are more important things in life that will also count for eternity.

Having had all the splendor, glory, and majesty in heaven, he humbled himself and was even born in a stable. Jesus invested his life for others. Jesus was always mindful of others even if he had to invest time and travel long distances to go meet their spiritual and physical needs. Life was very difficult in his time. He had to walk everywhere he went. There were no conveniences like comfortable hotels with running water, indoor toilets, or refrigeration. The days are hot, and the nights are very cold in that region.

His daily sacrifice to do the Father’s will was very demanding, and what can we say about the ultimate sacrifice that he did for us all? The price that Jesus’s followers had to pay was very similar, yet they were faithful to the end. Most of them were martyred for their faith. Time has not changed the price and investment required to live life according to God’s will. Matthew 16:25 says, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

Investing our life to fulfill God’s will by loving him and others as we love ourselves is the best way to live. How does your life’s scorecard look?

“I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)