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2/24/16: What is your perspective of when you die?

Published: Tuesday, 23 February 2016 Written by Carlton L. Arnold

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.  Philippians 1:23-26

Paul’s discussion in the verses above is an unusual way to look at living and dying.  His perspective is one that all Believers must understand.  We all need to make Paul’s way of seeing living and dying as a part of our idea of living and dying.

He begins by saying “if” he continues to live, then he must be performing fruitful labor for God.  Labor that is fruitful is when a Christian becomes involved with some other human being and assists them in growing more spiritual.  It could mean that the other person recognizes that he/she is a sinner.  Christ died on the cross suffering the judgment God would have given to a sinner.  Instead Christ took on our sins, and we became as righteous as Jesus if we believe.  Realizing the unconditional love that Christ demonstrated on the cross should cause Believers to love God with all their heart, soul, and mind.

 

Fruitful labor also includes helping someone grow spiritually.  We all need to be working on this until we die.  God has declared us righteous, but we need to work on our behavior to exhibit the changes that have occurred in our lives due to this outpouring of God’s love for us.  Christians using the spiritual gift that God has given them are able to accomplish this type of labor.  In addition to the gift, the Christian must make a concerted effort to focus on others and not themselves.  Realizing this should cause Believers to want to serve others.  Jesus said that by loving God and serving others, Christians fulfill all of the commandments of God.

Paul described himself as in a dilemma about his life.  He specifically says that he would prefer to go ahead and die now so that he could be with Christ in heaven.  Obviously, Paul had spent a great amount of time thinking on his life and when he would die.  Doing so caused him to look on his life on this earth as less rewarding than his death that would bring him into the presence of Christ. He expresses that he would be much better off “by far” when he dies.  This kind of thinking is not common among Believers, but it should be.  I exhort all of you as you read this to honestly and candidly think about your perspective of life and death.  If you are a believer, you should have no fear of your death.  If you are not a Believer, you will be deathly afraid of your own death.

The positive aspects of death is everything to a Christian, because we will see Jesus and inherit so many things from God (salvation, a new glorified body, eternal life, and many more spiritual gifts.)  One additional item to mention that has a significant meaning to all of us is a reunion with all of those who have preceded us in death.  This is why Paul calls his death as a gain, and that he desires to depart this earth. 

Do you think that Paul was truly hoping to die soon? 

What does death mean to you?

Do you know all of the benefits you will receive when you die?

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