January 10, 2010

To Live is Christ — means hanging around the right people

When we lived in California, our daughter picked up the valley-girl accent. When we lived in the Chicago area, our son had a friend from Brooklyn and picked up that Bronx sound. If you hang around someone long enough, you pick up something of their personality, even their appearance.

The more I read this passage each day, the more I want to know how to be like Jesus, but I also am starting to want to know the Apostle Paul much better, and hope that some of his qualities will rub off on me.

Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. (Philippians 1:20–24)
Not only was Paul certain that Christ would be glorified by him whether he lived or died, he was also certain that if he lived, his life would be fruitful. In fact, he was so certain about it that he could compare his future fruitfulness with going to heaven to be with Jesus — and not be sure which was the best choice!

I’ve a little booklet (at home, and we are on vacation, so I cannot give the exact title or author) that talks about spirituality as an organic thing. Like a seed, the life of Jesus Christ is planted in His people and it will grow, even must grow. Feed and nourish it, and growth will be more obvious, but because His life is an eternal and everlasting life, nothing can stop it from making itself known.

In other words, those who belong to Christ will magnify Him in their body. The problem with many of us is that we think, “Who? Me?” because we know how unworthy and weak we are. Yet Paul did not focus on himself. He knew the power of God and the power of everlasting life and that certainty made him a bold and positive person.

Of course I want to be like Jesus, yet being like Paul is also a worthy ambition!

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