As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored 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 live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose, I cannot tell.
Philippians 1:20-22, emphasis added
We’ve all said it, “The Lord is my top priority.” We mean it, we really do. We know that our relationship with Christ is the necessary foundation for all other healthy relationships and pursuits. We want Jesus to be our first desire. We want to say with Paul, “To live is Christ.” The reality is … our lives rarely match our words. Translating that longing into life is a challenge that leaves most of us flailing. How did Paul get there? What was the impetus that moved him past desire into reality? Was is the encounter on the road to Damascus? Was it the thorn in his flesh? Honestly, I have no idea. And even if I did, what moved Paul into that type of intimacy is irrelevant. The question is: What would move me there? And the more difficult question: Am I willing to ask God to do that?
Lord, I don’t even know what it means to say, “To live is Christ.” I cannot wrap my mind around that reality … my heart and mind are so bound up in the things of this world, the demands of daily living, the chaos of a culture that rushes hard into meaningless pursuits. It scares me to ask the hard questions … and yet, it scares me not to also. I want that confidence, that passion, that peace. I don’t know what it takes in my life to stand up and say, “To live is Christ” … but God, I want that! I feel like the man who uttered the most real prayer … Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. Lord, I am desperate for the fullness of You … but Lord, I have no idea what I’m asking for. So once again, I ask in faith that cannot see, cannot comprehend, cannot understand … the faith that chooses to believe. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.