“For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)
We’ve all heard someone say, “I love my life,” but this is only a reflection of that person’s own priorities, not necessarily a true estimate of the quality of his or her life. In reality, none of us are qualified to evaluate the excellence of any life, our own or others’. Only the Source and Originator of life has the authority to do that. So to say, “I love my life” is little more than saying, “I love my husband.” It says nothing about the quality of your love or your husband. The real question, and the only one that matters, is “Does God love my life?”
If you or I want to know how “love worthy” our life is, we’ll have to go the Word of God to find the criteria. And without taking the time to enumerate Biblical virtues and sins, we could find no better principle than Philippians 1:21, because this life can only be judged by its relationship to the next one. We’re going to be somewhere for eternity long after we’re here, so any life here worth living—or loving—must be to my advantage after I die. As Paul says, in order for death, and by extension, life to be “gain,” it must be lived for Jesus Christ. It’s as simple as that. The old Puritan, John Tillotson, once said, “He who provides for this life but takes no thought for eternity is wise for a moment, but a fool forever.”
If my life is a reflection of my personal relationship to God through His Son, Jesus Christ (the only way), then it’s worth living, and I can say with confidence, “I love it.” Now, here’s the best part. I can love it, no matter what the circumstances—sickness or health, rich or poor, noticed or unnoticed, criticized or praised. It’s not what’s happening to me or around me; it’s what’s going on inside me, peace with God through the death of His Son for my sins and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit through His Word. As Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “…the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” This is a life that gets sweeter as it ripens, and death is a confident step into God’s eternity, not to be feared but anticipated. Truly, this is a life worth living and loving…and I do!
For me to live is Christ, to die is gain,
To know His Word and walk His narrow way.
There is no peace, no joy, no thrill like walking in His will,
For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.