Thursday, 23 March 2017

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS MANY DEATHS

It would be a great mistake at this point if we separated the way death honours Christ from the way life honours Christ. The reason this would be a mistake is that the life of a Christian includes many deaths. Paul said, “I die every day!” (1 Corinthians 15:31). Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Daily Christian living is daily Christian dying. The dying I have in mind is the dying of comfort and security and reputation and health and family and friends and wealth and homeland. These may be taken from us at any time in the path of Christ-exalting obedience. To die daily the way Paul did, and to take up our cross daily the way Jesus commanded, is to embrace this life of loss for Christ’s sake and count it gain.
In other words, the way we honour Christ in death is to treasure Jesus above the gift of life, and the way we honour Christ in life is to treasure Jesus above life’s gifts. This is why Paul used the same word “gain” in relation to Christ at death and in relation to Christ in life. Not only did he say, “To die is gain,” but he also said, “Whatever gain I had [in life!], I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count 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 3:78).


May God help you. May God free you. May God give you a fresh, Christ-exalting vision for your life—whether you go to an unreached people or stay firmly and fruitfully at your present post. May your vision get its meaning from God’s great purpose to make the nations glad in him. May the cross of Christ be your only boast, and may you say, with sweet confidence, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

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