Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 3, 2017
By Tripp Prince
Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 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. Philippians 1:18b-20 (ESV)
St. Paul wrote his letter to the church in Philippi from within a Roman jail cell. In a very real sense, he was writing with the explicit knowledge that this could be the last letter he ever wrote them. He longed to be with his friends and partners in the gospel in Philippi, yet knew it may be time for him to end his days on earth and be with Jesus. Both of these were live options, and remarkably he seemed genuinely torn between the two, knowing that both were paths to joy and a cause for rejoicing.
Death is perhaps the most universally experienced fear, yet we rarely speak about it, choosing instead to push it to the periphery of our minds and live as though we will go on forever. However, as we all know, our mortality is inescapable, and we feel the effects of aging and sickness with each passing day. Just this week I received news that a friend died suddenly and unexpectedly, catching me entirely off guard. And yet, like St. Paul, in my grief I rejoice to know this friend had returned in recent years to a deep and flourishing faith in Christ, and so I trust that he is rejoicing in the LORD’s presence this very moment.
As Christians, we walk in the way of the cross, and for us that means pain and suffering should not come as a surprise but as part of the call to faithful endurance. And yet, sickness and death is not a friend but is instead an enemy that Christ came to defeat by facing it head on (1 Cor. 15:26). As John Donne said in one of his sonnets, “Death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.” We follow the risen LORD who promises to us the same hope of victory. This is, as St. Paul says, our “eager expectation.”
Does your life in the present reflect the joy and the hope of the age to come? If you were to take an audit of your time, talent, and treasure, what would you learn? Would you find a life that reflects the values of God’s Kingdom or would it be disproportionately weighted towards this-worldly pursuits that are quickly fading away?
The Bible reminds us that we cannot take tomorrow for granted (Prov. 27:1). A day will come for all of us, sooner than we expect, in which we will give account for the lives we lived- the ways in which we chose to love freely and give ourselves away for the sake of others and as a sign of our hope in Christ Jesus, or on the other hand the ways that we closed ourselves off from the world around us, living in isolation, anger, and fear.
We only have one life to live. Supported by the prayers of the faithful and the work of the Spirit, may we live it with full courage, honoring Christ in the way we live, and in the way we die.
PrayerFather, may we be found faithful to the very end, trusting you in each and every circumstance. Amen.
ApplicationWhat is one practical adjustment you can make to how you spend your time, talent, and treasure to better reflect your hope in God’s coming Kingdom?
Related ReadingEcclesiastes 7; Acts 20:24; 2 Timothy 4:7
Post/Tweet todayWhen we walk in the way of the cross, pain, and suffering should not come as a surprise. #WisdomHunters #fullcourage
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