Summary: What does it mean TO LIVE IS CHRIST? What does it mean to you?
In Philippians 1:21, Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Have you ever thought about that statement? What does it mean TO LIVE IS CHRIST? What does it mean to you?
Now if we look at the whole verse we can see that Paul is talking about staying here and completely God’s work or to die and go and be with Jesus.
To live is Christ, to me, means following as closely to Jesus’ example as I can. Letting God have the control in my life. Not letting ME get in the way.
Can you name a time when your ME got in the way of something God was trying to do?
From time to time, we think of a plan to try to bring people together, to reach out to those who are not saved and share Christ with them. But over the years, I can vouch that not everything we have tried has worked. i.e.
- We used to ring in the New Year with a watch night service. Explain.
- We tried date night. Didn’t work.
- We tried the AWANA program. Didn’t work for us. And on this one I want to dwell a moment.
The reason AWANA didn’t work for us is that ME got in the way. We had several that were willing to spend time and work with the children. But we also had at that time one or two, or more, who wanted things done THEIR way. And I can vouch that THEIR way wasn’t always God’s way. So, after 2 years, we phased it out and replaced it with King’s Kids. We have had King’s Kids for over 15 years and it is still going.
I have always said that nothing we do, no program, no event, or anything is set in stone where we always have to do it that way or on the same date, or even do it at all. I used the phrase, “Nothing is set in stone.” We can try it all, but not all of it will work. At least, not for us. So, we try something, and if it goes well, we continue. If it doesn’t do well or accomplish what we were trying to accomplish in the first place, we trash it and try something else. Nothing is set in stone.
But the point I am trying to make is that when it comes to God’s work, we have to take the ME element out of it. As I preached before, It’s not about me. It’s about God. Whether it be teaching, or working with the children, or youth, music, or planning any event, we have to take the ME element out and allow God to show us and guide us.
I read about a young pastor that stressed the point about removing the ME from God’s work. She wrote:
As I was typing up the many pages of notes I would use for my weekly podcast sermon, I needed to replace a name in part of my document with "M-E," so it would read correctly as I recorded. I was trying to use the ’Find & Replace’ command, but it looked a little different in the program I was using and I did something wrong, which meant I deleted every instance of M-E in the entire 17 pages of my notes. And there was no way to undo it. With a sigh, I worked a little longer on my notes, and then spent a lot of time correcting them the next day just before recording.
When I finished correcting my notes, I started laughing out loud. I was teaching on Galatians 2:20, about being crucified with Christ, and my mistake had caused me to delete every instance of ME in the whole document.
And that is just what taking up your cross and denying yourself and being crucified with Christ is all about. Getting the ME out of everything. That’s what Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane on that dark and lonely night, 2000 years ago - He laid down His will. He made His body submit and do the will of our Father in heaven, that we might be given a chance at new life.
By the way, listen to what Paul says in Galatians 2:20:
20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Rethink the question, what does it mean to me when I say, “For me to live is Christ”?
It is my prayer that I would live with integrity and have courage for Christ.