Philippiansby David Sanford
Imagine that you have been arrested because of your obedience to God, and now await execution. Would you struggle with the question, ″Lord, am I ready to die for you?″ Today, we will examine Paul's bold response to this question.
In a few years, Paul will be martyred. Yet, when writing to the Philippian church, he seems confident that he will be released (1:19; 2:24). Regardless, Paul has already decided on his life goals-he knows that to live is Christ and to die is gain (1:21). He is ready to die for Christ. Let's study his mindset.
First, Paul says ″I will in no way be ashamed″ (v. 20). This means he is determined not to display cowardice or wilful disobedience. Instead, he is committed to honouring Christ by proclaiming the good news. It is his foremost priority.
Second, Paul expects and hopes that he ″will have sufficient courage″ (v. 20) to stay true to the Lord. Having been arrested by the Roman authorities, he wants a full measure of courage to live for Christ to the very end. Proclaiming Christ is far more worthwhile than any of the countless foolhardy and trivial endeavours this world has to offer. Despite this, society continues to oppose and mock our efforts.
Third, ″now as always Christ will be exalted in my body″ (v. 20). Paul views his body as an instrument made by God for service to Him. His body bears the marks of beatings and whippings. Despite this, Paul doesn't see service to God as mere duty. His is the high view of ambassadorship and apostolic ministry, and therefore Paul delights in carrying out ″fruitful labour″ (v. 22) for ″your progress and joy in the faith″ (v. 25), so that ″your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound″ (v. 26).
Paul's eyes are fixed on Jesus Christ, and his heart has been reshaped by God for others, despite physical pain and suffering. Let's take a moment to meditate on Paul's commitment to God-and reflect on our own commitment to Him.
Is living for Christ Jesus more of a duty or delight for you? Why?
How should looking forward to seeing Jesus affect the way Christians face death and suffering?
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