For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain — Philippians 1:21
My last post touched on Suicide. And now I know why. Now I know why I was unable to write for so long until I put pen to paper on thoughts that have been unpleasant but needed to a vessel.
So much of modern Christianity has an infatuation with living. I am not speaking to anyone but me. I am modern, I am Christian.
I live life with a clenched fist. I don’t wanna die. I don’t wanna die horribly. I don’t wanna die drowning. I don’t wanna die any other way than in my sleep.
But the truth is that, it is not Christian, it is not Christ like to seek a death that is easy. Jesus lived his WHOLE entire life with a singular purpose.
To die on the cross.
There is nothing pleasant about the cross. One can argue that it is the most grueling of death.
It’s not just the cross though. It is the promise of Jesus himself to us. It is the requirement to be Christ like. The requirement which is to relinquish that firm grip on life.
Check this out:
We are so quick to judge suicide as a lack of perseverance. People that quit on life. People that didn’t see it through to the end. People that didn’t trust God’s promise that He will make a way.
The flip side though is just as poignant. Often times, our condemnation of suicide, our impression of suicide has little to do with quitting and more to do with our own inability to release life and embrace death.
Embrace death, I know. It sounds so morbid. But I challenge you to go back and look at those verses again and tell me if it possible to live out those verses with a desire to live above all.
It says He is sending us out as SHEEP amongst WOLVES. Does that sound like sire death to you?
We will never fulfill our calling to go to an assignment like that if as sheep we are obsessed with staying alive. A sheep that does not embrace death, will never roam about in the wild because death lurks at every corner.
While grazing for food.
While attending to her little ones.
While drinking water at the river.
While playing with siblings and parents.
While strolling in the park.
A sheep in the wild is a target. It is food. It doesn’t need an excuse. Doesn’t need to take a run turn, say the wrong thing, act a bad way. It just needs to be, and intersect in time with a hungry carnivore. The same carnivore that it saw yesterday in the jungle and played hide and seek with.
That is what we are sent out to do. We are sent out for Christ’s sake into danger, constantly around us with a mandate to be gentle, cunning and bold.
The funny thing is that, it doesn’t say, being sheep amongst a herd of sheep, being watched by hungry wolves.
It instead says, we are sheep amongst WOLVES. Wolves plural, meaning, the sheep is outnumbered, constantly threatened, most definitely uncomfortable and CRITICALLY not hiding.
Fascinating, no sheep that loves living above all else will follow through on that assignment or calling.
I wonder if that explains why so much of the world is corrupt. There are fewer sheep embracing of death to be LIGHT of the world.
Paul said, to me, to live is Christ. I live cause that is what Christ wants. But dying is gain.
Maybe it’s not suicide. Maybe taking one’s life is not gain. But most certainly swapping the position of living and death in that statement is also not the life purposed for us. I live my life like this:
For to me to die is Christ, and to live is gain.
There is so much life that I have been robbed of, that I have robbed myself of because I want to live more vigorously than I want to be like Christ.
Thank you for breaking down my blurred vision about death, Lord. Thank you for the clarity. Thank you for the reminder that I was made to be a sheep amongst wolves.
A prayer of Surrender
Gift me the cunning to survive and the desire to embrace death that my purpose might leave behind only the legacy found in Christlikeness.
In Jesus’ Name, amen!