imageA great passage from Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotional from Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” (ESV).

The believer did not always live to Christ. He began to do so when God the Holy Spirit convinced him of sin, and when by grace he was brought to see the dying Saviour making a propitiation for his guilt. From the moment of the new and celestial birth the man begins to live to Christ. Jesus is to believers the one pearl of great price, for whom we are willing to part with all that we have. He has so completely won our love, that it beats alone for him; to his glory we would live, and in defence of his gospel we would die; he is the pattern of our life, and the model after which we would sculpture our character. Paul’s words mean more than most men think; they imply that the aim and end of his life was Christ–nay, his life itself was Jesus.  In the words of an ancient saint, he did eat, and drink, and sleep eternal life. Jesus was his very breath, the soul of his soul, the heart of his heart, the life of his life. Can you say, as a professing Christian, that you live up to this idea? Can you honestly say that for you to live is Christ? Your business–are you doing it for Christ? Is it not done for self- aggrandizement and for family advantage? Do you ask, "Is that a mean reason?" For the Christian it is. He professes to live for Christ; how can he live for another object without committing a spiritual adultery? Many there are who carry out this principle in some measure; but who is there that dare say that he hath lived wholly for Christ as the apostle did? Yet, this alone is the true life of a Christian–its source, its sustenance, its fashion, its end, all gathered up in one word–Christ Jesus. Lord, accept me; I here present myself, praying to live only in thee and to thee. Let me be as the bullock which stands between the plough and the altar, to work or to be sacrificed; and let my motto be, "Ready for either."

If I get to live, I can live to serve the Lord, tell more people about Him, be salt and light for His Kingdom, and so to live is Christ – for in Him we live and move and have our being, (Acts 17:28).  Yet to die is gain, I can have my eternal rest in the presence of my King.  So to live I can serve Jesus and honor Jesus with the life that He gives.  To die means I am with Jesus in His physical presence forever.  There’s no lose here.  So our motto should be “ready for either.”

Paul lived this, as he later in this same epistle said that he “count(s) everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ,” (Philippians 3:8, ESV).  When Christ is our life we have everything.  Everything of eternal value anyway.

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