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Monday, May 23, 2011
Singing in the Night - Philippians 1:19-26
In Philippians 1:19-26, I believe there's a clue as to how to handle life's disappointments. It's such an important passage, I'll include it here for you. I'll begin with the last sentence in verse 18.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, (19) for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.
Paul had learned the secret. Nothing on this earth matters when compared to being with Jesus. If you step back from all your wants and desires....all your needs....Step back from everything on this earth and simply look into the face of Jesus - Everything becomes clear. If you are a Christian and you know that you will "graduate" into the arms of Jesus when you die - then life and everything here is unimportant. Once you wrap your mind around the reality of Heaven and all it offers, holding on to earth feels ridiculous. Fighting to have that relationship, competing to own that possession or even worrying over looks, fame, finances - it all reminds you of little "toys". You begin to feel like a mature adult with no desire to cry over some worthless McDonald's happy meal toy. After all, you are holding Heaven and all it's unimaginable joy and wealth. Earth looks small, restrictive and completely unimportant. Compared to Heaven earth is but a pebble in your shoe.
And yet our life here is important. What we do here can make a difference. God insists that we "occupy" until he comes. He insists that we go on about our daily work and that we have an impact on others so that our work and our life will point them to Heaven. So...we can't just sit on a rooftop and wait for him. We must be about our father's work. We must continue.
In this passage of Philippians Paul argues with himself about desperately wanting to be with Jesus. Finally going home represents the greatest joy of all. Yet, he also realizes that he has "fruitful labor" to accomplish. For that reason he must continue to work and do all that Jesus wants him to do.
I'm comforted when I look at this life the same way I viewed my education. Elementary school was preparation for High school. High school prepared me for college. It wasn't until I left college that I felt my life really began. The 80 or 90 years I have on this planet is merely education - a preparation for Heaven. I'm preparing the only thing that will go with me into the next life --my soul and my brain. Who I become and what I believe about life and God will follow me into Heaven. It's in Heaven that the party and real life actually begins!
No matter what you are going through, I hope today you can find a place alone with God and get into the stream from Heaven that helps you to see only the "Godly" importance of your being. Acquiring things, holding on to fame or accomplishments, being popular or even pushing ahead at work.....all these issues are only important in the framework of doing what God has called you to do. If you are a Christian and everything you are and everything you have were to disappear tomorrow - it's not really important. It's only a toy that amuses here on earth but dissipates when we cross over.
Knowing Jesus Christ and understanding the Heavenly vision - is the truth that will keep you singing through the night. It is the only truth that can set you free from every pain and sorrow of this world.
Last night my heart was heavy with burdens that seemed to crush me. I sat in my big fluffy living room chair and cried. I asked God to wrap his arms around me and to solve the problems I faced. It took a while, but gently and patiently God led me to the truth. "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain." Nothing here on earth can take away my real treasures. Nothing here can take away the fact that when God calls my name and decides it's time for me to go home....I win. I get it all! I will live forever in paradise with Jesus Christ. I hope you too will accept him as your best friend. I hope when the time comes...we both will sit as his feet - big smiles on our face - never once thinking about the swirling problems of earth.
God loves you,