“For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Philippians 1:21

It’s all about Him, Pilgrim.  All about Him.

Many years ago the Watchman Nee preached a series of sermons that was captured in a book, entitled Christ the Sum of All Spiritual Things.  In those pages the spiritually-sage Chinese saint kept coming back to the theme of our Manna today:  “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Nee said, “Ask not for the peace of God; ask for Jesus to be your Peace.  Ask not for the joy of God; ask for Jesus to be your Joy.  Ask not for the love of God; ask for Jesus to be your Love.”  And, on throughout the book this same thought permeated all:  “Christ. . .the Sum. . . the Essence. . .the Central Focus of everything.”

Prior to meeting the Risen Lord on the road to Damascus, Paul thought he had it all together; however, after the life-changing encounter (Acts 9:1-9), he never looked at things the same way again (Phil. 3:3-14).  His “Magnificent Obsession” in life was “knowing Him, the power of His Resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death” (Phil. 3:10).

Even though there’d still be times when his flesh still reared its ugly head (Rom. 7:7-24; II Cor. 1:8), he still knew the key to victory (Rom. 7:25-8:1; II Cor. 1:9-10).  And, that key is a Christ-centered, Christ-focused, Christ-consuming life.  Hallelujah!!

Look at Paul’s first phrase:

“For to me to live is Christ.”

Think about the implications of those words, Pilgrim:  “For to me”. . .not someone else. . .not my neighbor, not my mama or husband or fellow pew-sitter. . .but to me. . .“to live”. . .when I get up in the morning. . .when I take a shower. . .when I brush my teeth. . .when I eat my breakfast. . .when I drive to work. . .when the phone’s ringing. . .when I’m paying the bills. . . when I’m playing with the kids. . .when I’m at a movie, playing golf or riding a bike. . .“is Christ”. . .present tense, continuous action “is”. . .not a moment when I forget my focus and reason for being. . .and the One Who died for me on the Cross. . .the Anointed One sent from God. . .Who lives within my heart and supplies my every need. . .as the song says “You are the air I breathe. . .You are my daily bread. . .and I’m desperate for You and lost without You.”

And, do not forget the remaining phrase:

“And to die is gain.”

Were these the words of some mourning, melancholy soon-to-be-martyr languishing in a squalid prison cell?  No.  A thousand times no!  They were the “heart-longings” of a thirsty soul—yea, a heartsick lover pining for his Soul-mate. Paul knew death awaited him and getting there might be very painful; yet, “for the joy that was set before him”—i.e., seeing His Savior face-to-Face—he knew his physical death would simply be the means by which he finally entered into his Lord’s Presence.  And, how wonderful that would be!  Can you say the same, Pilgrim?  Are you ready to meet Him?  Then, live like it today.  He’s with you.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated November 19, 2009

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