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The first post in this devotional series covering the book of Philippians is Devoted to Philippians.
But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. (Philippians 1:23-24)
So, Paul was looking at two options: death by beheading, or life by acquittal. I think most folks would prefer staying alive, but Paul considered it a hard choice to make. He could “depart and be with Christ”, and this would be far preferable for himself. Or, he could remain on in this life, which is better for the people in the churches he planted.
Such a choice! What would he choose, and why? Most folks would knee-jerk the life option. But, eternity with Christ is actually VERY much better. This life we now live is a mere shadow of the life to come. The true “I want to live” option is to die.
I’ve had to think about this conundrum a lot. For many years, the certainty of knowing Christ, and that I would spend eternity with Him, caused me to make poor lifestyle choices. But, a couple of years ago, I realized that this was the selfish option. It didn’t take into account those I would leave behind.
So, I made a conscious decision to make myself more healthy. (One of the big choices was to lose weight. See my blog posts on dieting for details on how I am doing that.)
Is it working? Who knows? It’s ultimately God’s decision when I leave this mortal shell. But, I’m giving him more options, I think, by trying to live a more healthy lifestyle. And “convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue.” (Philippians 1:25)
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