Philippians 1:20–21, “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
In Philippians 1:20, Paul shared that his desire was to magnify Christ in his body whether by life or death. He wanted to live as Christ desired him to live, and if he had to die for Christ, then so be it. Either way, Paul wanted to live so people could see Christ in his life.
The idea of living for Christ carries some great truths:
1. Living for Jesus Is Personal
Paul said, “For me to live.” It was obviously personal to the Apostle Paul. He was not talking about others living for Jesus, although he would encourage that. He was talking about himself setting an example or being a model for others to see and follow. God expects each believer to model Christ in this world. There should be a desire in each child of God to want to be like his Saviour, Jesus Christ.
2. Living for Jesus Is Practical
The phrase, “to live,” is more than just rhetoric or generic platitudes. There is a practical aspect to this statement. It means that no matter what our station or lot in life, we can live in such a way that God is praised and the cause of Jesus is advanced. The lives we touch should know that we are living for Jesus.
Recently, I again began reading about the life of Joseph. Everyone who came in contact with him knew that the Lord was with him. He lived his life with integrity and clarity. People who interacted with Joseph heard his language, saw his practical conduct, and saw the ethics that he practiced; they watched as God blessed everything he did. This is exactly how the Lord wants each of us to live.
3. Living for Jesus Is Possible
It is obvious that Paul lived this kind of life and that the church to which he was writing would know the truth of this statement. God does not ask His people to do things that are impossible. Of course, living for Jesus is only possible as we die to self and allow Christ to be evident in our lives. Christ only controls those who are willing to live holy lives that are yielded to Him. For some, that may mean that adjustments need to be made in their lives.
4. Living for Jesus Is Powerful
So many Christians live apathetic lives that are not fulfilling. It is not until a person is serious about serving the Saviour and gets focused in his deportment and direction that God can use him in powerful ways. This is not something reserved only for those in ministry or who hold positions in the church—it is something that God longs to do through each of His children.
The truth is that God gives us churches to be part of so that our lives can be continually challenged. The church, likewise, gives us ministry opportunities to serve the Lord and each other. Jesus did His greatest work during His earthly ministry among the men who walked with Him every day. We need to touch the world, but we must also touch each other so that the body can be strengthened.
Our focus should be living for Jesus! I trust that Christ will be clearly seen in this world through our lives. Pray for that to be true and ask God to help you to live for Jesus!