To Live… To Die…

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For me to live is Christ, to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

This verse came to mind one morning. How? It came about as I think about dying… and fighting to live. Paul penned this life verse while in jail. He firmly believed this after all the beatings, shipwrecks, imprisonments and persecutions he’d gone through for being a follower of Jesus. Paul lived to preach Christ, to teach others about Christ, to show others the way to Jesus. For him, to die is gain. How? Why did he say that dying is good?

22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith…

To die is gain because he can then be with Christ – see Him face to face forever.. that is so much better…

I remember this verse because I realised why my friend fought to live… it is more necessary for the people she loved that she lived… it is the reason she went through so much sufferings in chemo, radiation.. bearing the fear and the pain of needles, shortness of breath, loss of appetite.. etc etc.. She fought to live because she loved her family. They needed her. Convinced of this, she knew that she would remain, she would continue with all of the people she cared about – for their progress, for their joy in the faith, for their welfare.. In her last days up to her dying moment, her concern was for her husband and her son… For her to live is another day to love.. to live is another day to be a follower of Jesus…

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. Job 23:10-11 NIV

This verse is what Job declared in the middle of his sufferings. Hardships in life test a person. Gold is forged in the fire. Tea is steeped in hot water. Diamond is cut and pounded to shine. Christians shine brightest in the world not when everything is sunshine and roses. Christians shine the brightest when they stand firm amidst the fury of the storm and the heat of the furnace.. when they choose to rejoice in spite of life’s difficulties.

I remember hubby gave me a poster: Pray not for an easy life. Pray to be a strong person. To pray is one thing. To act on the prayer is another. How? My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. That was how Job did it. He followed his Lord. That was how Paul did it. To live is Christ, to die is gain.

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