TODAY'S WORD FOR Tuesday, March 26, 2019:
Prolonged earnest desire; wishful; yearning.
I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:
Paul is sharing with the Church at Philippi, in this verse, his struggle in his mind as to where he would rather be at that moment. He is relating that he has equal pressure that is being exerted from both sides. Here he is speaking of his personal desires and not necessarily that which the Lord would desire. He makes it clear that his personal will is to be swallowed up in the sweet and perfect will of God.
At the time he wrote Philippians Paul was in prison. It was not where he longed to be. Paul is longing to be with Christ but he knows that his mission on earth is not complete. The centerpiece of this entire dialog from Paul is Christ. In verse 21 Paul says simply and concisely, “For to me to live is Christ.” As long as the Lord had a purpose for him to live, even if it was in prison, he would accept that. But what Paul longed for was to depart this world and be with his Lord and Savior.
There are many examples in life today where children and adults face longings in their lives. How many children, have you heard about, that go on their first overnight camping experience and in the middle of the night they had a longing for mother and father at home?
There were times in our lives before we were married living 2000 miles apart that we faced a longing to see one another. We needed to look beyond that longing anxiously waiting the day we knew we would see one another again. It is normal to long to be with those that we love.
Paul looked at life differently than those who do not know God. For those who are apart from God life here on earth is all there is. Their passion in life is to gain worldly treasures such as money, fame, power, popularity, and pleasure. But Paul’s passion in life, because he believed in Jesus as his Savior, was to become more like Christ and serve Him.
Paul spoke out boldly for Christ, suffered persecution, and imprisonment for it. Whether he lived or died Paul wanted to exalt Christ. Dying would be better for him because he would be removed from his earthly troubles and he would be with his Savior he loved. Yet for Paul to live meant he was to have fruitful labor. (Philippians 1:22). Paul knew that the fruitful labor for him was to bring people to Christ and build up the believers in their faith.
Many times we have talked to or heard about friends who were fighting sickness, economic struggles or strained relationships and they had a longing to call it quits and go to heaven and leave their troubles behind.
In times of suffering it is natural for us as believers to think longingly about being with Jesus, just as Paul did. As God’s children we know that this world will never truly be home to us. Paul loved serving Christ, as we should, but a part of him longed to be with the Savior as we do. It is comforting to know that being with Jesus in our eternal home will be far better than being here on earth.
We, as believers, can be confident that when we face those moments of longing to be free of life’s struggles we can have strength that comes from our Lord to continue to labor for Him here on earth until He takes us to be forever with Him.
As Paul said, for him to live was Christ and that was all he needed but to die is gain. Our reason for living is to serve Christ here on earth but our longing should be to spend all eternity with our Lord and Savior. How glorious that will be.
Our memory verse for this week is found in II Timothy 3:16-17.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Help me to live above any worldly longings that I face today. Thank You for the longing that I do have to spend an eternity with You. Until that day comes give me the strength daily to serve and love You with all my heart.
These Family Devotional thoughts are written by Dr. Ken Phillips, Executive Director of America's Hunger
Solution, and his wife Dottie. Ken has had ministry positions
with The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, World Vision, Youth For Christ, World Opportunities International,
and World Bible Society. He also has consulted for more than 30 Christian ministries in management and stewardship
development. They have published a book called No Problems Only Situations that discusses the journey of their family.
Ken and Dottie have been married for 60 years, and have 6 children, 20 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. Their
second book, TODAY'S WORD, includes 365 daily
devotionals and is now available for only $10.
Ken & Dottie Phillips
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