To Live is Christa

No, that’s not a typo.

I’ve been studying Philippians chapter 1 lately and am regularly astounded at Paul’s mindset. Here are some cliff notes:

Paul is writing from prison. Towards the middle of the chapter, he begins talking about different people who are preaching the Gospel because he is in prison. Some people are preaching it because they want to advance the cause of Christ, while others are preaching because they actually want to make life harder for Paul. But Paul’s takeaway from all the drama? “Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.”

From this issue, Paul moves on to the lighter topic of the timing of his death. Will he die soon? Or will he continue to live and encourage the Philippians in the Lord? He talks about the pros and cons of both situations:

Dying is what he wants to do because HELLO, he would get to be with Jesus.
On the other hand, living is more helpful for the people of Philippi and would provide Paul with fruitful ministry.

In this conversation about life and death, Paul shares his bottom line of hope. What is it?

Christ will be honored in my body
whether by life or by death.

After that proclamation of hope he states, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

Why Does He Say That?

How can he be so confident despite the uncertainty of whether he’s going to die?

Because He has made His entire life all about Christ. He just illustrated that in the beginning of the chapter when he talked about people preaching the Gospel with different motivations. He wasn’t focused on whether or not people were making life easier for him. He had the big picture in view:
Is Christ being preached? Yes?
Then I’m going to rejoice.

Why are they preaching?
It makes no difference for Paul. He is more concerned that God receive glory than that His life be comfortable.

Paul models a Christ-like attitude that whether he lives or dies is not the crucial issue.

The most important thing is making his life all about Christ.

Paul, you might die soon; what do you think about that?
“Hey, that’s great; what I would prefer, actually. I’ll get to be with Christ!”

So Paul, what’s your plan if you make it out of prison alive?
“I’ll go back to the Philippians and continue working to help them progress in their faith.”

“Paul’s life is not a matter of seeking his own comfort or advancement.
It is all about seeking the advancement of Christ’s kingdom: to live is tantamount to serving Christ.”
Рnotes on Philippians from my study Bible

Paul patterned his life after Jesus. For them, living equaled serving. Does this sound like your mindset?¬†Can others around you say, “If she’s alive, she’s going to be serving Christ.” Or are you pursuing your agenda?

I really want to be like Jesus and Paul. I want to be able to say, “For me to live is Christ!”

But too often, my song is “For me to live is Christa.”
What’s best for me? What makes me feel happy and comfortable? What do I want?

I’ve discovered that as a Mom of littles (who constantly need basic life things done for them), it’s possible to deceive myself into thinking I’m a servant when actually, my heart’s not in it. I may do a lot of things. It may look like service. But serving isn’t just doing the things. It’s having a heart like Jesus.

God, change my heart. Let my passions be centered on Christ. Give me a heart like His.
And may my thoughts and actions reflect the words of Paul: For Me to Live is Christ.




  1. Janice MacAvoy says:

    Wonderful post, and a wonderful desire: to live for Christ.
    I was convicted by your point that sometimes we can be serving, but our heart is not in it. That is a good point, and a good opportunity for me when I do that “to be humble and honest”, as Dad often says, confess my attitude to the Lord, and ask for His grace to help me to serve others with love for Him. (Do I love Jesus? Then I should feed His lambs.)
    Thank you for the good post!

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