Today's Bible Reading: Philippians 1
Selected Biblical Text
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 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! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 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, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me. (Philippians 1:21-26 NIV)
Reflecting and Thinking
Some have suggested that the letter to the Philippians is perhaps the richest of Paul's shorter letters. The first chapter is filled with memorable verses -- choosing what is best (v. 9), advancing the gospel (v. 12), preaching Christ (v. 18), exalting Christ (vv. 20-21), progressing with joy in faith (v. 26), and living worthy of the gospel (v. 27). One of the best known verses is v. 21: "to live is Christ, to die is gain." Paul reflects his own single-mindedness in this chapter. He has only one thing in mind -- progress, both the progress of the gospel and the progress of God's people in joy and faith.
If other people were asked to identify what is the most important thing in your life, what would they say? What is your top priority? What do you pursue single-mindedly? Paul had numerous personal concerns, but his letters are filled with his care for others. How can we help one another person experience progress and joy in the faith?
Dearest Father, I want to live for Christ. May the days of my life on this earth be pleasing to you. I pray that I will "die to self" and grow and become more like Christ as I journey toward that day when I will be with you in heaven. Please use me to bless others; to give love, encouragement, help, and guidance where needed; to meet material needs of the needy; and to point people to you. Thank you for all that you have done for me, for all that you are doing in my life right now, and for all you will do in the future. In Jesus' precious name I pray, amen.