Bible Reading: Philippians 1:18-23; Psalm 34
I may only be speaking for myself on this, but have any of you ever felt tension between enjoying life and enjoying God? Does it ever feel like you must choose one over the other? I think it is good to enjoy the life we have. God has given us life, and He desires for us to be cared for and fulfilled. However, God calls us to surrender our lives fully to Him. God does this because He knows this is the only way we can truly be fulfilled. This is a major hindrance to nonbelievers, and if we are honest, to us as believers at times. We are torn between living life to the fullest and living life for Christ. God tells us that these two are the same, but we fail to see how. When sin entered and infected the entire world, it tampered with how we view life. All of us, even the most selfless and humble, have a self-centered view of life. We may wonder, “how is my life making a difference?” Even some of our most other-centered thoughts focus on how we live. “What can I do to establish my families future?” “How can I make this world better for the next generation?”
When Paul looks at his life and purpose of it, he calls it, “fruitful labor”. His focus is on producing fruit, which Paul himself cannot do. No person can plant an apple tree and make it grow apples. We can care for the tree, but only God can produce fruit. The message here is: as you live, rely on God for your life, your family, your work, your focus, your provision, your everything. When life is lived this way, death is seen as a precious gift, because you will be with Jesus, and that is far better.
Application: How would adopting this passage as your mindset for life change your marriage? How would it change your home? Your work? I think there is much joy and peace to be had in this kind of living. To stay with the farming analogy for a moment, many say this kind of work is rewarding. Rewarding does not mean easy but gives a sense of joy and fulfillment that not much other work can. Likewise, making our life to reflect Christ will not be easy at times, but will be rewarding. That reward will be seen in our homes, in our jobs, in our churches, and in all the world where God’s people are. That reward is the joy and peace of knowing and experiencing Jesus. To know in your heart and mind that you lack nothing because in Him you have everything. With thankful heart, worshiping minds and compassionate hands, we will live for God every day. When we do this, I truly believe that it will be far better than the life we have lived to this point.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, you are the best thing we have ever experienced or known. You know our hearts and minds are prone to wander, so we pray asking for you to keep us focused on You. Only you, O God, can make our lives full. Make us full, Lord, and may we glorify you in this life you have given us. We love you. Amen.