To Me to Live is Christ

“For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith… “ (Phil. 1:19-25).

Years earlier, the apostle encouraged the elders of the Ephesian church with this reminder of full devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ:

“You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God…” (Acts 20:18-24).[1]

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“to me to live is Christ…”

In these six words of one syllable each the greatest Christian who ever lived sums up what it meant to him to be a Christian. They are words which every Christian ought to be able to say. If one cannot say them then that person is either not a Christian at all or a very poor specimen of what a Christian should be.

Being a Christian is personal.

Paul says “To me…

Christianity is not just something theological, traditional, ecclesiastical or denominational but personal–and that in two ways.

My acceptance of Christ must be personal. I must receive Him for myself into my heart as the Son of God, the Saviour of the world and as my Saviour.

My allegiance to Christ must be personal too. When Saul of Tarsus became a Christian he asked this basic question, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” [Acts 9:6]. The Christian does not necessarily conform to society or pursue his own designs. The Christian obeys Christ.

Being a Christian is practical.

Paul says, ‘To me to live…’

And life goes on for twenty-four hours every day and night, not just for one hour in a church on Sunday. If Christ lives in us, then it means that every moment will be spent with Him. Here is an end to loneliness, for the Christian is never alone.

It means, too, that every matter will be shared with Him. Here is the call to holiness, for if there is something I cannot share with Him then it must go out of my life. If there is something He wants to share with me then it must come into my life.

Being a Christian is possible.

Paul says, “To me to live is Christ.

Christ is living out His life in me. Such living is available in Christ because Christ is available to each and to all. It is attainable through Christ because He has the resources I lack. When a person becomes a Christian it is as if a pauper had married a millionaire.

Can we say what Paul could say, “To me to live is Christ”?

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Live out Your life within me, O Jesus, King of kings!
May You Yourself be the answer to all my questionings;
Live out Your life within me, in all things have Your way!
I, the transparent medium, Your glory to display.

The temple has been yielded, and purified of sin,
Let Your Shekinah glory now shine forth from within,
And all the earth keep silence, the body henceforth be
Your silent, gentle servant, moved only as by Thee.

Its members every moment held subject to Your call,
Ready to have You use them, or not be used at all,
Held without restless longing, or strain, or stress, or fret,
Or chafings at Your dealings, or thoughts of vain regret.

But restful, calm and pliant, from bend and bias free,
Awaiting Your decision, when You have need of me.
Live out Your life within me, O Jesus, King of kings!
May You be the glorious answer to all my questionings.[2]

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From Day by Day with George Duncan. (London: Pickering & Inglis, 1975) , 73,74.

[1] Introductory Scriptures (NKJV) added – JBW

[2] “Live Out Thy Life Within Me”, by Frances R. Havergal (1836-1879). Poem added and old English updated – JBW


Honorable Mention

David and Denise Glenn have Bible studies especially for parents–Fatherwise and Motherwise. See kardo.org/product-category/wisdom-for-fathers/

 

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