“By your endurance you will G A I N your lives.”
If I were to lose my life, if I were to be hated by all, or if I were to be put into prison for the sake of knowing Christ, would it be worth it? In all honesty, my flesh says no. Denying Christ and living a quiet, comfortable, Christian life seems much easier. Preserving my earthly treasures and titles seems like a far greater gain than death. But within my soul is that gentle voice telling me, “No Charis. You have got it all wrong!” And I do. Life, as perceived by many, consists of 75 years filled with education, a steady job, marriage, a family before you are thirty, and a nice home paid off before your kids go to college. But all is fleeting, all is temporal, and nothing on this earth can satisfy the deepest desires of our souls; but God. In him I have found that which is truly life. My heart is never more filled with joy and subdued with peace, than when it rests in the hands of my father. When I am on my knees in prayer, when I am worshipping my creator, when I am encouraged and built up by the body of Christ, and when I am going through trials that require me to take refuge in Christ alone—those are the times that I feel the most A L I V E. Those are the moments that I live for; those are the moments that I was created for. Philippians 1:18, 20-21 says it perfectly: “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice…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 death. For to me to live is Christ and to die is G A I N.” This is life. This is the abundant life Jesus came to give us. Great gain is accomplished when we die to self. If we can kill our fleshly desires and flee from our complacent lives, then by God’s grace and strength, we will endure through every battle, until the very end. We cannot be shaken if our feet are planted on the unmovable word of God. If we experience great pain, or great earthly loss, we need not dismay. God goes before us and he stands beside us and he promises that not a hair on our head will perish. The losses we experience on the earth are worth nothing in comparison to the abundance we gain in the knowledge of Christ.
Application: I will set aside time today to write out the many reasons I am grateful to know Jesus, and I will commit to memory Philippians 1:18, 20-21 by writing it out on a notecard and hanging it up in my room.