Perhaps you have heard the phrase YOLO. Well, YOLO simply stands for “you only live once.” It has taken on a few different definitions but mostly it’s associated with the idea of taking risks or make the most of the moment your in. What if we were to turn this idea into something meaningful for the Kingdom. Let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be hard. Part of Christian faith and Kingdom work is knowing that we only have a short time to make a difference on the Earth. The Apostle Paul had this mindset and gave his all for Christ. He knew this was his only trip around and he wanted to do it for our Lord.
In this next section of Philippian 1 we come to one of the popular verses, verse 21, “for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” This rings in the ears of many Christians because we have heard it so many times. This is what you call a coffee mug verse and Philippians is full of them. Before we get to verse 21 let’s examine a little more around this verse.
“19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Let’s start with verse 19 when Paul is talking about deliverance. Remember Paul is writing this letter from prison. Think for a moment on the surroundings Paul is seeing as he is putting ink to parchment. He is seeing chains, dirt, dimly lite brick wall, and probably a smell that you couldn’t image. But yet, Paul writes “this will turn out for my deliverance.” If you are a Philippian reading this letter you would cheer about now, agreeing with Paul. Yes! Yes, that’s right you’re going to get out of this. But Paul turns the meaning saying he will not be ashamed but Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or death.
Well, what do you think he means by that? Why would he say it like that? Because, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. At the end of the day Paul was content knowing Christ was being glorified either way. That is what matters, Christ be glorified. This is what it means by, “to live is Christ.” R.C. Sproul says this, “Christ is the Alpha and Omega of Creation and the only reason you and I exist is for him.”
To live is Christ means that everything we are, everything we seek, everything we do, and everything that people see should be used glorify Jesus. It’s easy to change the words to see the inverse of this. “To live is my job” to live is my success” “to live is my expectations” to live is me!” To live is Christ means to truly live out Matthew 5 and be the light of this world.
This is our life but it was given to us for a purpose. To live for the one who created us means we make him our chief desire and number one pursuit in life. You only live once, so live it for Him. Fix your eyes on him and hold fast until the end.
Remember Hebrews 12:1–2
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and cis seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Let’s finish up with another popular phrase from the past, “What would Jesus Do?” Living for Christ can often seem complicated but it’s not. The Christian path is simple, but it’s difficult. This phrase is a great reminder of how to be imitators of Christ. If the goal of our lives is to bring Him glory then start by asking how would get handle and given situation. How would he my relationships? How would he handle how I spend my time? How would he handle finances? Because you are doing this for more than just yourself. Ultimately the world doesn’t read the Bible, the world reads Christians.
Be imitators of Christ for the world to see Him.