“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
We say that we live for Christ, and perhaps, in part, we do. Our hearts were placed within us to pursue the desire to be near unto God, yet there are parts of us that cling to the old. There are parts of us that remain reluctant to release control. We are asked to surrender all, yet we simply don’t.
The Apostle Paul says here that he lived for Christ, and should he have died just then, he would but gain, for he knew all of this world is but a vapor. He understood that nothing of this world could we take with us, nor does any thing of this world matter. He exhorts us to mortify the things of the flesh. He writes:
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:”
He also explains that just as Jesus was crucified, if we are in Him, so are we crucified. He calls our lives before this point our “old man” and writes that he is dead and buried. He writes that we should not allow our old man to be revived by sin. This actually expounds upon what Jesus said.
“…If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23
Denying self is the first step. In our lives, we must serve. It is how we were created. We are slaves (If you take offense to that Truth, read the Bible and get a spiritual education). Let me repeat that. We are all slaves. We were designed to be slaves for Christ, but because of the corruption of sin, we were enslaved by sin, and served either the world, the devil, or ourselves. But when Christ died for us, we were paid for in full and bought by His Blood to forevermore be His slaves, and not anyone else’s, not even ourselves.
So, if we then are honest and truthful with ourself, no one else, just ourself, we must admit that there are those things within us that we cling to still. We believe we have control over those things, but we don’t. At some point, if not now, God lets them get out of our control. At that point, we can either expend all that we have and all which we are to attempt to regain control, but we know that even if we contain it now, we will be back to this point again. Or, we can surrender it to Jesus, just like He has told us we should.
Knowing that there will either continue to be a struggle and suffering of consequences or rest, we would be wise to choose rest. The first step, for those with horrible memories is denial of self. Then, pick up your cross, and follow Christ. Paul writes this as kill your members, which is to mean, crucify them, nail them to that cross. Give them to God, Christ Jesus, and let Him do within us what we cannot do.
Therefore, though what the Apostle Paul writes herein is true, that to die would be gain, for we would be with our Lord face to face, without tears, without pain, and without suffering, I propose to use his very words not out of context but just to re-enforce a true Biblical principle.
To die is gain, even as we live, if we but die to ourselves, and gain the blessing of the operation and movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives, Who cleans out the chambers within our temple, removing all of the furniture comforts of the world we have held onto. May we all allow this this night, so that the signs outside of our sanctuary are truthfully representative of the adornments within, brethren.