Lent Devotional in Philippians
"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."
My wife and I lost a baby last year. When I received the diagnosis, my stomach cooled. For a good half hour, my body shook in fear. We all fear losing something, a paycheque, a position, a person. Maybe you too lost something or someone very dear to you last year and now you live in some sort of dormant shock. Even the enjoyment of what you still gain is sometimes shaken by the fear of losing it. It could happen to any of us.
It happened to Paul. He lost his freedom, and with it, his position, his friends. In place of sandals, he had shackles rubbing against his skin. Then he says that what had happened to him would have an ironic effect. Because “for me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” This is not some catchphrase. Paul is saying something very true and very profound here. He’s saying that even when he enjoyed his freedom he was already a captive of Jesus, and so captivated, so overwhelmingly content in Christ that he was joy-rich! He could spare whatever is dear to most people for the sake of Christ - he could even lose his life and still have him. The irony.
Paul was just human. But he enjoyed the gift of prayers made for him and the gift of the Spirit of Jesus in him. So he said, “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” We too can join Paul! Let us pray for each other and say it. Nothing and no one, however precious, compares to Christ.
Father, we resolved to lose a few joys during this season of Lent only to find overwhelming joy in you. May that be true for us. Amen.
Written by Jubiracy da Silva, Product Development Manager
Before joining us, Jubi pastored in Brazil and studied at Regent College, Vancouver. Having written courses for the Brazilian church, he is now excited to help update our materials and work with CEM supporters. He lives with his wife in North West London.
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