So, acutally, I’m in the Dominican Republic currently and even still, God has found me here. To think that for even a few days I might escape Him is a joke. Even on vacation God can still answer major questions like the purpose of this life. For me, the question is about the purpose of this life.
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.”- Philippians 1:21-26
I wish I were John Piper but, since I’m obiviously not, I will have to suffice for paraphrasing his synopsis of this passage in Don’t Waste Your Life. Yes, I’ve been struggling with this question majorly the past several days. It wasn’t until God brought this passage before my eyes that I began to understand His true answer. I hope it’s half as edifying for you as it has been for me.
I noticed first here that Paul (the author) values Christ above all. In other words, there is nothing in this life that means more to him than God. This goes along with last week’s post. God has to be first and foremost. There are no if’s and’s but’s or or’s about it.
Also, just as importantly, I noticed that life is not about the individual, instead it is about others. Paul notes that his life on earth should be fruitful labor and for the benefit of the progress in faith and joy of those around him. He doesn’t mention any other reason for staying on this planet than that, yet he finds these more important. This should say something for us. In fact, it should speak volumes despite the fact that it seems to ring silent in today’s culture.
I asked this last week, but one of the greatest questions in life is what we value most. If the answer to that question isn’t Christ, our Lord and Savior, then we desperately need to reevaluate our system of morals.
Yes, He is good and His gifts are extravagant, but they are far less than the Giver, Himself. Friends, this is the crux of life. If we get this, there is no falsehood that can stand in our way. Christ said it himself, the most important thing in life is valuing God above all other things (Matthew 22:37-38). I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but the importance we place on God is that important.
What’s also important is our sense of pride and self-centeredness. I don’t know about you, but I feel I live vastly more for myself than I do others. It’s not what I try to do, however it’s merely a result of my fallen and imperfect nature. This is the exact opposite of the way we are supposed to live. It’s not about me and it’s not about you any more than me! We need to get over ourselves and think about those around us for a change. If we keep this in its right standing, this world will be a better place (Matthew 22:39). However, this change has to begin with us.
I wish I could make this more evident, but I am trying to the best of my ability here, friends. The ultimate we can do in this life is to love our God, the one true Love with all our hearts, our minds and our strengths and then love those around us with all the love that He imparts within us. If He is the Originator of love, then the love we have for others must be pure and abundant. In that case, should the love we share with others not also be enough to quench our own seemingly insatiable needs as well as theirs? Dear friends, here we are today at a crossroads. Do we try to sate our needs for love alone or do we take the gamble that our love for God may satisfy both us and all those around us? Do we dare be so bold? If you won’t, I certainly will.