For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. ~Philippians 1:23-24
We can sometimes come to the place in life where we have to choose between two good things. We rack our brain and soul trying to decide which is the better decision to make. Sometimes, we are faced with a decision that requires us to be in two places at one time. We sometimes find ourselves giving favor to two important choices and eventually make a split decision. That’s where Paul was in our devotion. On one hand, he was ready to leave this life and be with Jesus. On the other hand, there were people at Philippi who needed him desperately. How did Paul get peace of heart on deciding between two good things that he wanted to do?
We see the scriptural conviction.
Paul loved Jesus! As a starting point, everyone who is saved should love Jesus! When we love Jesus, we will have this longing to be with Him. Suffering and trials can cause this love for Jesus to intensify. He knew that the superior goal he had was to leave this life and be with Jesus. He said, “To depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.” This was a scriptural conviction. Paul stated earlier that to live is Christ, but to die is gain. His life was completely wrapped up with Jesus. The best place for us to be in our consecration is to be wrapped up with Jesus just like Paul was. We must come to the place that living for Jesus is our priority in this life, but to be with Jesus should be the passion of our life. Have you developed the conviction that you would rather be with Jesus than anything else in this world?
We see the spiritual conflict.
Paul desired to be with Jesus. However, he also knew that to stay there for the sake of the believers at Philippi was a necessity for them. Sometimes, serving God and people in this life will have its moments of difficulty. There will be times when we have had too many problems and burdens to carry. We would rather just leave and spend eternity with the Lord. Sometimes, the demands of people can weigh heavily on us to the point that we sigh and, deep within, we feel like we have had enough. There are days when we have spiritual conflicts. There is the conflict between time with the family and time serving the Lord. There is the conflict that Saturday and Sunday are our days off from work, but we need to worship and serve the Lord. There is the conflict that we need to save for our children’s future and our retirement, but there are the special offerings that the church is taking up. There is the conflict that I want to surrender to be a missionary on foreign soil, but I feel like I need to save more money. These are all good things. Which one do I choose? How do I choose the right one?
We see the selfless conclusion.
Paul shows us how he reached the right conclusion. He said, “And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith....” Paul came to a selfless conclusion. You see, his desire to be with Jesus was wrapped up in what God wanted for him. It was not God’s will that Paul leave this life now. God still had more for him to do. Paul had to stop being selfish and return to being selfless. How do I decide between two good decisions? Choose the one that takes you out of the equation and that is about what is best for the people in your life and ministry. Paul selflessly realized that he was to abide and continue for the "furtherance and joy of faith" of the Philippian believers. God still needed him to help these believers in their growth, the spread of the gospel, and to restore hurt relationships. Just like with Paul, God has you here for the benefit of other people rather than for our selfish accomplishments. Paul made the "faith choice:" the one that would require him to have great faith in God.
Paul faced a split decision, but in the end, he confidently made the choice that had God’s blessing upon it. Are you in between two decisions? Follow Paul’s pattern and choose what will best glorify God and help others in their faith.
Have a selfless God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Matthew 15-17