This verse amazes me. It summarizes the mindset that every Christian should have pertaining to death. To those that follow Jesus, death is no longer a bad thing. Because Christ overcame it, it is now gain. Gain because out of death comes life with God. Gain because every sin, every fear, every evil has passed away. Gain because every good thing we lived for is now there in its fullness in Christ.
Yet it also shows the attitude that we are to live with. For the follower of Jesus every moment is to be lived for the glory of God. That’s really what has been on my mind these days. I’ve been reminded that following after Jesus is far more than just acting spiritual on Sunday mornings, or even doing something extreme for Him like martyrdom. I’ve realized that Christ demands more than just a dramatic death-scene; He demands our lives. He demands us.
To Paul, Christ was more than just important, He was everything. His entire motivation for living was to know Christ and to bring glory to Him. That is the mindset that every Christian should have. I find it fascinating that we so often seem to seperate things into catagories of ‘spiritual’ and ‘secular.’ We tend to think that when we spend time with the church, or studying the Bible, that we are living out our faith, but that God couldn’t care less about our normal activities like driving to work, or watching movies with friends.
What I mean is this: God is interested in every aspect of our lives. It is true that He wants the moments when study Scripture, and feed the poor, and listen to sermons, and whatnot, but more than that, He wants the everyday moments as well. Just like what 1 Corinthians 10:31 says: “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Everything that we do, even the mundane things, are to be for God’s glory.
I think sometimes we get far too caught up in the quanitity of our good actions instead of the quality of our character. I would venture to say that a good man is not defined by doing more good deeds, but rather by the purpose for which he does all of his deeds. We get so caught up in doing things that are good, we forget to do ordinary things in a way that is good. We focus too much on living a good life that we forget that Christ is our Life.
I suppose the essential difference is that ultimately God is more concerned about who we are than what we do. For instance, the reason we need repentence is not just because of the evils we have done, but because of the evil that we are. Sin comes from the heart. By nature we are twisted, cruel, beings. And the God of justice must destory evil. Then when Christ has redeemed us with His blood, and transformed us, and made us alive. Now we are saved not because of the good things we do, but because of Who Christ is, and who He is making us. His main concern is not an improvement of our actions, even though that is important, it is about the quality of our character, transforming it so that it brings Him glory.
All of this occured to me a while ago when I was pondering about how cool it would be to be a martyr. A lot of people look at me funny when I say things like that, but I honestly think that it is the most wonderful way to die. There is nothing more noble, more honourable, than surrendering life itself to bring glory to God. But as I thought about it, I felt my conscience hammering me with the thought of: “That’s great that you’re willing to die for Him. But are you willing to live for Him too?”
That’s when God taught me that if I do not live for Him in the ordinary circumstances of life, than I will not have the character to die for Him in extraordinary circumstances. To live is Christ. Every moment of every day. Live for Christ when that punky teenager cuts you off on the road. Live for Christ when you are work. Live for Christ when you are at school. It is difficult, but it is worth it.