Good morning those who hope in the Lord
Death is never easy for those of us left behind. We are left in the here and now. We are left on this side of the glorious promise of eternity with Christ in His very presence.
Today I want to encourage those of you who have lost a loved one who had a relationship with God. They are no longer grieving. They are no longer in pain. They no longer have questions. They are forever captivated by the awesome beauty of our loving God and Saviour. They are rejoicing!
I pray you take heart by what the Apostle Paul said.
Philippians 1:20-24 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
There is so much in this passage. Paul’s focus is that his life brings glory to God; whether he lives or dies is secondary to his desire to honour God. I pray this will be true of all of us also.
Paul also makes it clear that being with Christ after death is much better than being here. I know I don’t want to die yet and I’m sure you don’t either. Maybe for some of us, we even fear death. So why was Paul saying what he said?
We must understand that Paul had a physical encounter with the resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus. He knew without doubt how glorious it is to be in the very presence of Christ Himself. He knew firsthand that nothing, even the greatest of earthly pleasures, could even start to compare with the awesomeness of being with Christ. He had tasted and He desired to be back physically with Christ.
My friends, to live is Christ; let’s live every moment for God’s glory. Let’s also remember that to die is gain. I pray that becomes a revelation in all of our hearts. To die in our natural bodies and be present with Christ in glory is the greatest gain we could ever have.