Desiring to be with Christ

Watering the Tulips

July 25, 2012


“We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord”2 Corinthians 5:8


For the child of God, it is not death to die.  Jesus said, “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”(John 11:26). The moment a child of God departs this life, he is instantaneously in the presence of the Lord.  He is no more dead than he was during his life on Earth.  In fact, it could be argued that he is more alive than he has ever been in this life. 


Paul expressed a desire to be with Christ in our text verse.  Certainly, this is the end of the race.  1 Corinthians 9:24 says, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it”.  And again, Philippians 3:14 says, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  So, we are pressing towards this end.  The goal of the Christian life is to depart this life and be with Christ. 


Now understand, Paul is not at all declaring that he is earning his salvation by running in this race.  He is speaking about focus.  The one that has been saved by God’s grace is to focus on the end of the race and serve the Lord will all his heart.  Certainly, the understanding that God is the author of our salvation doesn’t negate the importance of serving the Lord.  A proper focus on the end of the race will lead to a faithful run.  This is Paul’s point.  And when we arrive at the end of the race, it is a time to rejoice!


Understanding all of this, the apostle Paul said, “For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:23).  Paul’s literally had a desire to leave this life.  He had a desire to be with his Savior which, in the words of Scripture, “is far better”.  No matter how good of a life a child of God has, to be in the presence of Jesus is “far better”.  It’s not just a little bit better, mind you.  It’s so much better that we cannot comprehend it. It shouldn’t surprise us that Paul again said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). 


Certainly it’s no wonder that Psalms 116:15 says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints”.  We view death in the opposite way as the Lord when we mourn over the loss of a loved one that died in Christ.  Though it takes an almost unnatural effort, we need to strive to see things from God’s perspective. 


Child of God, set your sights on the end of your race.  Certainly, run with great effort as you look to see Christ.  When your loved ones die in Christ, do your best to view their death from a Scriptural standpoint.  Certainly there is comfort to be found in this blessed truth.


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