For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me. 27Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Paul is in jail. Death is a real possibility. Here in Philippians 1 he is processing out the possible scenarios. He might sound suicidal, but I doubt it. When he says, “I don’t know which to choose – death or life…” I see it as his coming to grips with his desired future. What does he want to happen? Clearly Paul’s desire is to be with Jesus because that is far better, but his choice is to continue on because that would benefit the church in Philippi. What we should see here is the absolute “win-win” for Paul. Most people would consider being in jail with the real possibility of execution as being a “lose” – but not for the one following Jesus! To be with Christ would be “better by far.” To continue on and be fruitful for the Kingdom – bringing glory and honor to Jesus… that’s great too! Even in the midst of adversity and opposition (1:27-30).
There’s something very dangerous about a person who is not afraid to die. If I see death as a blessing… a promotion… what will keep me from serving wholeheartedly today? What will I be afraid of? This edge to my thinking is fertilizer to the soil! It will produce greater fruitfulness for the Kingdom. I want my life to count… to be fruitful and to bring glory to Jesus. This life is a mist that is here, but then disappears (James 4:14). The infinite majority of my life will be spent in heaven with Christ. Looking forward to that place inspires me in THIS place.
Thank you, Lord, for what You have planned for me. Inspire me to great boldness and please be fruitful through me is my prayer.