Wednesday, July 5, 2017
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you” (Philippians 1:21-24 KJV).
We Christians often want to go on to Heaven to meet our loved ones, instead of staying here in this present evil world. Countless brethren throughout the centuries have agreed with Paul that “to depart, and to be with Christ… is far better.” But, we must also agree with his other recognition!
Paul’s epistle to Philippi was written from a Roman prison—technically, he was under house arrest (Acts 28:30). When he penned in today’s Scripture, “this is the fruit of my labour,” the “this” was his “bonds,” his confinement (see Philippians 1:13). He was a hated man preaching an “illegal religion.” No doubt, in the midst of all his suffering for the Gospel’s sake, there were times when he just wanted to leave this wretched world forever. However….
The Holy Spirit transformed his mind. Despite the pleasure he would get in leaving to be with the Lord Jesus Christ, something was much more important than alleviating his pain and suffering. He needed to stay here on Earth in order to continue ministering to his Gentile converts. After struggling to decide what to do, notice his resolution in the verses following today’s Scripture: “ And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;  That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.”
Paul hoped to be freed, thereby allowing him to return to Philippi and encourage his Christian brethren in person. He decided Earth—not Heaven!—was the best place to be at the moment. Let us realize the same, brethren! There are still more people (lost and saved alike) for us (!) to reach with sound Bible doctrine, so let us be about “abiding in the flesh!” 🙂