What Are You Living For?

Day 4 | Today’s passage

Philippians 1:19-26

Running, I was running
To get everything.
Hurry, please hurry,
I need to achieve
One more thing.

I wrote these lines of a poem over 10 years ago. A few years before that, I had lost my mother to cancer, only shortly after becoming a Christian. Death took on a whole new meaning for me: it became painfully real. I was angry, scared, and confused. I started running after things like money, achievements, and a good family, to drown out the pain and grief.

In the meantime, I did everything Christians were supposed to do: go to church, tithe, pray, sing a few songs, read the Bible. These are all good things and necessary for my walk with God, but I was missing out on the heart of a relationship with Him. Christianity was simply something I added on to my security blanket, a guarantee to reach the peak of happiness—eternal life. For to me, to live was to be happy, and to die was a tragedy.

What I didn’t understand was that being in a relationship with God meant being all about Jesus. This includes making His heart and His mission—making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19)—my own. This is how the Apostle Paul lived.

Paul’s letter to the Philippians contains so much of his eager expectation and hope: that Christ is magnified in him whether he lives or dies (Philippians 1:20). Paul’s view of life contrasted strongly with mine—for to him, to live is Christ and to die is gain (v. 21).

Paul’s life was all about Christ. When he wrote this beautiful declaration of allegiance to Christ, he was in prison guarded by Roman soldiers. These are not empty words of devotion, but a statement borne out of confidence. Paul is ready to embrace whatever circumstances that living a life for Christ would bring on—even death.

And death is not an unwelcome visitor for Paul, for it means going home to be with Christ, which to him is far better than living (v. 23)—a gain by all accounts for someone whose reason for existence is Christ. Yet even in thinking about whether he should live or die, Paul chooses what benefits others more than what benefits himself (vv. 24-25). He points others to still more rejoicing in Christ (v. 26).

Paul’s choice is a beautiful example of self-denial for others and for the cause of Christ. His is the kind of choice that so easily gets sidelined when we focus on our own happiness and gain. Paul held everything loosely, except Christ. He welcomed anything that came for the sake of Christ.

Paul’s example has changed my own goals and purpose in life. Instead of seeking after the things of the world, it is now my desire to know Jesus more and to point others to Him—even if it means getting out of my comfort zone and sharing the gospel with those around me.

I pray for all believers around the world, myself included, to have the same kind of vision that Paul had—a desire to live our lives for Christ above all, and an attitude that does not fear death because it means we will “be with Christ” (v. 23). Let’s continually evaluate what we’re living for, realign our priorities with His, and make choices that will point others to Christ.

I pray that like Paul, knowing Christ, pursuing Him, and living for Him will be all that matters to us.

—By Kezia Lewis, Philippines

Questions for reflection

  1. Reflect on what Paul wrote in Philippians 1:19-26 and ask God to show you what’s within your heart. What do you live for? What would you die for?
  2. In what ways is your outlook on life and death similar to or different from Paul’s?
  3. How can Paul’s example encourage you to live your life differently today?

Artwork by Esther Oh @hello.eo

About the author

Nothing excites Kezia more than taking a two-hour drive with her husband listening to a teaching on God’s word, but she thinks that watching rain pour down with a cup of coffee is also time spent well.

Read more devotions


12 replies
  1. Karren
    Karren says:

    Before my Grandmother died,she receive Jesus and finally come to rest. The same thing with my younger brother,he was died and live with God after that. Am acctually thinking that if I come to heaven,I will finally see them and the rest of the bible characters that I love specially Joshua. So trully being a christian,death is nothing to us anymore. We live with Christ now and bear the promised of being with Him in His Kingdom. So while we still here in Earth,we should share Christ to others so they experience too the grace of God.

    Reply
  2. Lawrence kyom
    Lawrence kyom says:

    Thanks a lot, this devotion is getting more deeper and interesting. God bless you, Kezia Lewis.Shallom!.

    Reply
  3. Mariah Mills
    Mariah Mills says:

    I can say this continues to challenge my own fears when I think of death. As a Believer it should not be something dreaded, but for me I think give thought to the pain in that moment but not so much the transition taking place. My pastor taught last year that, “Death for the Believer is instant Heaven, no spooky or wierd stuff.” I don’t often look at death as Paul, as a joyful time with Jesus and the Body of Christ, I stumble at the fear of the physical ceasing and what that will be like since it’s out of my control. But Paul again challenges me to realize in this life I glorify Christ and live for Him and in the next I celebrate with Him and I’m in His presence forever. In both Christ is glorified. It really challenges me to change my mindset. These devos have been bringing the challenge

    Reply
  4. SANDEEP
    SANDEEP says:

    This passage changed my perspective of Death altogether..
    Truly encouraging words..Would like to live a life with no fear of death whatsoever from now on…For a True Christian death is nothing but a Step moved ahead towards Eternal Life in Heaven

    Reply
  5. Rush
    Rush says:

    I am really afraid. I need to tell my parents that I was discontinued from school. I have been full of dissapointments .though I haven’t given up on Christ’s redeeming power. I haven’t given up on his grace. I am requesting for prayers. For strength. For wisdom. That my parents will just accommodate my failure, this one more time. I am feeling weak and tired of everything around. I just want a new start. I am praying. But not as much as I should. I practically don’t know what to do. I need help from God. I need help.

    Reply
  6. Esther N Simiyu
    Esther N Simiyu says:

    I’m learning to live for Christ and to be in line with God’s will rather than to follow my own desires. Thanks for this encouragement Keziah.

    Reply

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