Big Hill Bible Studies
26 February 2018
Let's call this week "commitment week." I want to share 5 different verses that bring a picture of commitment to the relationship you have with the Lord. What I ask of you is to share your favorite verses and what they mean to you and your relationship with Him. 1 Thessalonians tells us, "Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing." Let's get started.
"But for me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." - Philippians 1:21 (NASB)
This verse has a special meaning for me. I fought it for a long time due to my selfishness. I had believed the "But for me, to live is Christ . . ." part of the verse was no problem. I believed, "Christ is first in my life because I am living for Him." My problem was the second part to the verse, " . . .and to die is gain." You see, I love my life. I love my wife. God has truly blessed me with health, Holly, a great family, and a fantastic church. I have a lot to live for. When I would think about it, my heart would break to realize I probably wouldn't be there to make sure my kids grow in the Lord and my grandkids become godly parents. I didn't want to be separated from Holly. I didn't want to quit preaching at Big Hill. There is just too much here that I enjoy - I didn't want to have to let go of all my blessings. But I know that the time will come when I'm done and life here ends.
Then one day it hit me. I'm really not living for God. I love Him and appreciate all He has given me, but I was living for me. Where did all these blessings come from? Not from me. Who provided my health, wife, family, and church? Not me. Who gave me the life I have and all these blessings? Again - it wasn't me or anything I had done, or even deserved. Doesn't it make sense that the One Who provides continues to care for and provide for His own? If He is able to bring about my life and all that it involves, doesn't it hold true that His promises are solid? The One Who creates also controls. My initial, selfish, first reading of this passage took on a new meaning to me. There is no worry here. The love I have for Holly, our kids, and the church, pales in comparison to His love for us. So my worries were replaced with faith. I believe many of us are in the same place I was. We believe the Lord loves us and blesses us, but we are worried about what lies ahead. We don't want to give up what we have. C.S. Lewis compares it to children who "play in the street content to make mud pies while they are promised a day on the beach." Didn't He say He is preparing a place for us, and we will be with Him. He will wipe away all our tears and there will be no more sadness, sickness or pain. That in itself is wonderful. But He promises more - much, much more. I believe that's why it's called Heaven. The separation we will experience is temporary. The life that is so much better is eternal. Paul continues in Philippians 1:23 to say that our life with Christ, "is very much better." I don't how that can be, but I do believe He is able. So it will be.