“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (22) But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. (23) For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: (24) Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” (Phil. 1:21-24)
The Apostle Paul is not setting forth the Scriptural basis for a Christian to think that he has the power to choose when he is leaving the earth or not leaving the earth. Neither the day of a man’s birth, nor the day of his death, is determined by man, but by the Creator, Jesus Christ (Job 14:5; Eccl. 3:1-).
But what the Apostle does set forth is that it is not about whether I live or I die; but it is the reason of living for the child of God. Paul answers the title question of this devotion: “Why Am I Alive?” Let it be plainly stated to all the living children of God that: (1) “for to me to live is Christ,” that is, my life is not my life, but it belongs to Jesus Christ, Who lives and abides in me. Therefore, for me to live in this earthly life is for the glory and honor of My Master, Jesus Christ. From the moment that God sheds abroad His Love in your heart, and you come to confess that Christ is in fact your Savior, and your Head and Lord and Master, the Owner of your body and spirit – then your entire focus and desire is to be a bond slave of righteousness. The Love of God abiding in you causes you to Love God with all your heart, soul, and strength; and to love your brother as yourself; and to bring forth fruit of the Holy Spirit: (Phil. 1:22) “But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour…” Therefore, to live is for Christ, and for His rewarding you, as is seen in the Spirit’s Fruit being manifested in your works of faith.
However on the other hand: (2) “to die is gain.” This means when physical death comes to me, it will be great gain for me. The gain I will receive at death will be: (a) I will drop this old sin-laden body, and receive a new body, a spiritual body (1 Cor. 15: 41-44; 2 Cor. 5:1-9); (b) I will be in the presence of God forever and ever (2 Cor. 5:1-9); and (c) I will receive the fullness of the Everlasting Kingdom of God (2 Peter 1:11).
Yet, the Apostle tells the Philippian Church: (Phil. 1:23) “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.” Yes, to be in the presence of Christ is far better; but Paul went on to say: (Phil. 1:24) “Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” Reader, here is the answer to the title question, “Why am I Alive?” Paul said, I am alive (or remain in the flesh), for you (speaking to the Philippian Church); it is not for me.
Child of God, this is why you are alive this morning; it is because God has a definite purpose of you to be a benefit to someone else, and in so doing you will fulfil God’s purpose in you and for you. When a child of God begins to ask, “Why am I Alive?” – it reveals the problem: (1) Your eyes are on self and not on Christ. You have made a decision to do what you want to do in life regardless of what God called you to do. Remember this, when you are brought to see that you are a tabernacle of the Holy Spirit, then you are not your own any longer. Paul makes this plain in (1Co 6:19-20) “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
When a person comes to know that they are a child of God; then they also come to realize that they are not their own any longer, and that they have been called to be an ambassador: “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17-20). This means you will, from this point on in your life, be about your King’s business in being His workman; His soldier; His witness for His Name’s sake for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, wherever and whenever God gives you the opportunity to speak for His Name. You come to know the why of your existence.
So, when you get your eyes off who you are, and for Whom that you live, and the reason that God chose and called you; then you begin to look at yourself and all your problems; and after a period of failure and discontent, you ask yourself, why am I alive? When a child of God stops being the witness for Christ that they have been called to be, they start down the wrong path; then they lose their way and purpose to be alive. There is no lasting joy and peace for a child of God who is not doing what they were called to do. God calls a person to Himself for His Glory and for His service and for the good of the called. But, when the vessel is not being used for that which its Designer and Creator brought it into existence to be and do, then the vessel is of no use. The vessel then is made aware of its uselessness; it is like salt that has lost its saltiness; or light that does not shine – so is the child of God that has made a detour and is trying to fit into the flesh’s desires instead of God’s purpose for his life.
If you are depressed, tired of life, and even asking, ‘Why Am I Alive?’ – stop where you are and take inventory. Ask yourself, ‘Am I doing what I have been called to do for God? Have I made a wrong turn in my life’s work? Have I gotten onto a spur line, off the main line? Have I listened to my flesh instead of the Spirit of God in choosing my direction?’
Of course there are many, many more questions to be asked; but, the answer to all these questions lies in answering the following question, ‘Where is my first love?’ Is it God and His Plan for my life; or is it self and its desire to satisfy the flesh? Obviously, only you can answer this question. But the problem boils down to identifying Who or what is your First Love.
Remember this, the most miserable person in the world is a child of God walking in the desires of the flesh, and not yielding to the leadership, counsel, and power of the Holy Spirit of God. At the end of his life’s journey, he cannot say with the Apostle Paul as his time of departure came: (2Ti 4:6-8) “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. (7) I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: (8) Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” But, he will answer as the “unprofitable servant” answered Jesus in (Mat 25:24-30), and will receive loss, as he stands before God to give an account of his life.
Which will it be: self on the throne, or Christ on the throne in your spirit? You are in the driver’s seat; not the preacher; not the family; not your employer; not anyone but you. You alone can examine yourself and know the solution to your problem.