Paul has had better days, but all is good. At the present time he is in prison, he knows not what pain and bondage will come in the morning, and he is getting word that men are fighting for power, control, and fame in certain churches he has planted. Yet, even in the midst of such sorrow, he can still rejoice.
He gives one sweet and powerful statement in his letter to the Phillipians, “For me to live is Christ. For me to die is gain.”
Living, even in the midst of suffering, is fine because he is in Christ and Christ is in him. Christ is his shepherd. Christ is his friend who sticks closer than any brother. Christ is directing all things for his own glory and the good of his church. Christ is the King of kings and all is working out according to his sovereign plan. Prison is fine and all is good because to live in such a manner is that which his Savior and Lover desires, decrees, and directs. And then, when the earthly race is over, all is better – to die is gain. So to live is Christ and to die is bonus. Today is good, tomorrow is gooder!
Paul could not have held such an opinion had he been a hedonist. If he were living for pleasure he would have been horribly dissatisfied.
Paul could not of held such an opinion had he been a Prosperity Theologian. He would’ve been terribly troubled by either his lack of faith or his guys a failure to respond to his “naming and claiming.”
Paul could not have held such an opinion had he been a “power of positive thinking” proponent of the goodness of man. Surely, he would’ve deserved better treatment than this.
However, because Paul was a wretched sinner who had received grace despite his horrid sin, and because Paul didn’t expect to live his best life now, and because Paul found a greater joy in serving and suffering for Christ than in titillating his sensations, all was good for Paul, and things would only get better.
And because Paul desired the elevation of Christ and expansion of the church more than anything else, he could later pen, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. (Philippians 1:27-30)
So are you a Christian who is suffering unjustly?
Has the sovereign King allowed you to be tormented by the world the flesh and the devil?
Have you been sidelined in your ministry?
Are things not working out so well with those who are coming behind you?
Do you find yourself a bit troubled about what may come over the horizon?
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, there is no need to worry. All is good. Whatever Christ allows you to happen to you today is for his glory and it is good. And when he takes you home to glory, it won’t even be gooder.
(Yes mom, I know that this contains poor grammar!)