Thursday, June 26, 2008

Daily - 6/26/08

Philippians 1:20-30

20 My eager expectation and hope is that I shall not be put to shame in any way, but that with all boldness, now as always, Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.

21 For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.

22 If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose.

23 I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, (for) that is far better.

24 Yet that I remain (in) the flesh is more necessary for your benefit.

25 And this I know with confidence, that I shall remain and continue in the service of all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,

26 so that your boasting in Christ Jesus may abound on account of me when I come to you again.

27 Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear news of you, that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind struggling together for the faith of the gospel,

28 not intimidated in any way by your opponents. This is proof to them of destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God's doing.

29 For to you has been granted, for the sake of Christ, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him.

30 Yours is the same struggle as you saw in me and now hear about me.

This picks up shortly after the passage sent out yesterday. Recall that Paul is in prison, yet he is completely secure and at peace with his future. He’s fine with dying; in fact, he’d prefer it. Yet he knows that he will likely live on, and that he is still called to do more in the flesh. I’d love to be of this mind as I approach my own death. To essentially not care – I either live or die, whichever is God’s will. If I live I get to serve another day. If I die, I get to see the King. But I’m far from that mindset right now.

Note the call to obedience in verse 27. This is an element of living in the spirit, along with prayer, enrichment with the Word, and the sacraments. This is what I’m trying to develop in my own life.

Note also verses 29-30, and the call to suffer for Christ. That means something completely different now than it did at the time of this writing. At the time of writing, at least two early Christians have already been killed (Steven the Martyr, and the apostle James), and probably many more than that. What would it have been like to receive this letter?