Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

A Wonderful Dilemma

Most dilemmas are stressful and difficult.  Paul’s, description of his dilemma in Philippians 1:22-26,  was not difficult; but joyful.  There were two equally intense tugs at his heart.  One was to stay alive and finish his ministry to the churches he had founded.  The other tug was to be with Christ in Heaven.  Paul was caught in this tension  between these two equally attractive desires.


Early in our ministries, the tug is stronger to live and fulfill our ministries than it is to die and go to Heaven.   


Paul’s desire to depart


As we come to old age, the tug to depart and be with Jesus begins to grow stronger. That was Paul’s desire in Philippians 1:23.  The Greek word translated depart could be used to take down a tent and break camp.  It could be used of a ship in dry dock sailing out  to sea.  Ships were not meant to stay in dry dock.  They were made to sail in the ocean.


We are born eternal souls, made to live forever with God in Heaven. Our short life on this earth is the dry dock where we prepare to live in the ocean of eternity.


Paul’s desire to be with Jesus


The major consideration that prompted Paul’s desire was to be with Jesus. It wasn’t simply a desire to escape his problems and burdens of this life. Imagine being with Jesus forever!  From the moment of death or the rapture, we are forever with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  What a blessed hope!


No waiting place of the dead, no soul sleep,  no unscriptural purgatory. Rather, it is to depart and to be with Jesus. That was Stephen’s great desire as he was being stoned to death.  He cried out in Acts 7:60, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,”  Then it says his body fell asleep.  That’s the beauty of death for the Christian. It is as simple and as peaceful as falling asleep at night.  Paul in I Thessalonians 5:10 wrote about it. Speaking of Jesus who died for us, “that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.”


Job, speaking about death thousands of years earlier, spoke by inspiration of God in Job 19:25, “For I know that my Redeemer liveth and that He shall stand in the latter day upon the earth, and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my  flesh I shall see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, though my internal organs be consumed within me.”   What a wonderful hope and assurance we Christians have, based on God infallible Word; that we will live again and for eternity in these bodies which will be glorified and perfect throughout eternity.


No wonder Paul desired to die and see Jesus.  It’s not that he was suicidal, nor should we be.  Rather we should live our lives totally devoted to His glory and then rest in the truth that when we die we are forever with Him.


Paul’s equal desire to remain alive on this earth


That was his concern in Philippians 1:24-25.  This is the thinking of every godly person.  As Paul, our equal desire is to remain alive on earth  for as long as Christ needs us to serve Him and His Church.  Both desires were utterly selfless. It was impossible for him to make the choice, as it is with each of us.


On a scale of 1-10  with 10 being the desire to serve Christ and His Church and 1 being the desire for material things and a desire to  fulfill a career, to earn money, to gain prestige, power and fame; it was an easy no-brainer #10 choice for Paul.  He would choose the desire to serve Christ and His Church any day over the paltry rewards of this world.


It wasn’t that Paul favored serving Christ and at the same time living for material success.  His desire was Christ alone.  Nothing else mattered. However, he left the choice of going to Heaven or remaining on earth to further the cause of Christ with God.  It’s a choice that servants of Christ must leave with Him.


His impression from God


Though he left the choice with God, He was impressed in his spirit that God was going to leave him on this earth for a little while longer.  That impression turned out to be accurate.  He was left on this earth for about two more years to further the cause of Christ and to further their spiritual progress and increase their joy, it tells us in Philippians 1:26.


It’s impossible for us to make such a weighty decision. Thank God, He does not leave it for us to make.  He decides when our work is finished and when it’s time to call us Home to Heaven.  Christian friend,  we have the best of both worlds.  Living for Christ is the best thing in life. Nothing compares to it for joy and satisfaction.  I can testify to that whole-heartedly. However, spending eternity with Christ is beyond our wildest dreams, as Paul said in I Corinthians 2:9.


May God help you to make the right decision in life by trusting Christ as your Saviour and surrendering to Him as Lord of your life. It’s the only right decision.  It’s the best decision. Anything less than that is sheer stupidity and yes, wicked for a Christian.  Read Romans 12:1-2 and keep reading it and meditating on it until you’ve made the right decision about your life.

April 3, 2009 Posted by | Philippians | Comments Off on A Wonderful Dilemma