To Live Is Christ – Contentment Commitment

Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

  • Philippians 4:14-23

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

  • Philippians 1:21

“At least we get another reminder that Paul is not some spiritual superhero. Despite his declared contentment in comfort and suffering, in life and death, he nevertheless says in verse 14, ‘Still, it was nice that you cared about me.’
“He would have been satisfied in Christ if they hadn’t, but he’s not so heavenly minded that he’s unable to say thank you to his friends for reaching out. In acknowledging their efforts, he once again commends their maturity, lavishing his praise on them for the way they passionately pursue Christ.

  • Matt Chandler, To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain

I struggled with the title.  Is it a commitment in contentment or a contentment commitment.  Either way, this is another “Co…” word, the conclusion of this mini-series.

And an update, Rev. Chandler had voluntarily stepped down due to a controversy about the time that this series started.  He openly confessed that in the process of counseling a member of the church, some of the language might have seemed inappropriate to some people.  His wife and the member’s husband both knew of the counseling, and he decided to step aside until the leaders of the church determined what should be done.  He has, for several weeks, been back preaching at the church, fully reinstated.  Fully forgiven if there had been anything requiring forgiveness.  The Christian community can transcend Cancel Culture.  We can forgive.

But getting back to the Apostle Paul, he was content in everything.  To live was indeed Christ.  To die was gain, but he was not content in one area.  If there was one more soul that could be saved through Paul’s ministry, he could never be content that he had not done enough for God’s kingdom.

C. S. Lewis wrote:

“It will not bother me in the hour of death that I have been ‘had for a sucker’ by any number of imposters; but it would be a torment to know that one had refused even one person in need.”

  • C. S. Lewis, Letters To An American Lady

And whether people admit it or not, the greatest need that we all have is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  And that is what drove the Apostle Paul.  We should all be driven as he was.  Only then can we understand what Paul meant by living is Christ.

This series started on 2 October 2022, and it concludes today.  But I have never defined “Christ.”

“Christ” was not part of Jesus’ name.  “Christ” comes from the Greek, meaning the anointed one.  The Hebrew equivalent is where we get Messiah.  Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the culmination of the Old Testament prophecies.  “To live is Christ” is a statement that you are consumed in your daily life with doing as Jesus commanded, to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth.

But sadly, we have this human thing called “life” and a “lifespan.”  In writing this post, I had to do some of the necessities of life, even more frequently since I took a water pill today and I had not taken one yesterday, for various reasons.  My wife called a couple of times.  She wanted me to call the doctor and see if her medicine request could be expedited.  She is out of her prescription pain medicine and her prescription sleep inducing medicine, so if he does not get around to it before the pharmacy closes, it will be a rough night for her.  I tried, but I was unsuccessful.  By then, it was lunchtime.  I had leftovers, and my wife wanted spring rolls.  The package said to either bake them in the oven or air fry them.  We had an air fryer that my wife uses to toast things, but oddly, we had never air fried anything … until now.

So, we mustn’t get caught up in “wasted time” doing this “life” thing, but we must also be mindful of this “lifespan” thing.  Our time is limited.  We must not lose focus on Jesus or His commission to us.  But we need not fear death, for to die is gain.

Lord, guide me.  Help me to be content with what You have provided and with Your mission that You send to each believer.  Help me to live each day for You, knowing that You will provide.  And I praise You for the provision You have already offered.  And, Lord, help us to never lose focus on You or Your commission for us.  Amen

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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