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The Declaration of A Servant:  To Live Is Christ

Do you like reading a good biography or watching a good documentary style television show about the life of a famous person. I like biographies because they allow us to pull back the vale and peek into the lives of individuals. They help us identify and understand the motivating factors in their lives. What motivates people like Dr. King, Michael Jordan, Michelle Obama and Dolly Parton to passionately pursue and achieve their obtained success. And what lessons can we learn from them.

Personally, I have similar questions about the Apostle Paul. What motivated him to have such joy from the unfriendly confines of a Roman jail? Why isn't he upset at God for his circumstances? What is motivating him to continue spreading the gospel despite his circumstances? (Philippians 1:12-17)

I believe that the answer to these questions lie in Philippians 1:1 where Paul says

Paul and Timothy, BOND-SERVANTS (slave, servant) of Christ Jesus…

Paul calls himself a bond servant. Now that does not sound like a very endearing thing to call oneself. But we must understand this from Paul’s point of view. He sees himself as a slave of the Lord. He is neither a slave of the chains which have him bound or the fear of death. He is a slave of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He has surrendered his will to the Lord's will. He no longer lives according to the desires and dictates of his own heart. He lives according to the desires and dictates of the Lord.

It is this view of himself as a bondservant of the Lord that allows Paul to have a positive attitude plus unspeakable contagious joy during his imprisonment. (Philippians 1:4, 18) It is also the foundation behind his declaration that

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)

For Paul, life was not about money, power, fame, his career, his ministry, the pursuit of happiness or the pursuit of love. Instead, life was about the One who allowed Himself to be crucified, buried and resurrected for our sins.

Life is about making Jesus the Christ, the central focus of our lives. All of our decisions, plans and dreams should be rooted in Him. The job we take should be rooted in our relationship with Jesus. The house we buy should be rooted in our relationship with Jesus. The college we choose should be rooted in our relationship with Jesus. The movies we watch and the music we listen to should be based in our relationship with Jesus. Everything about us should be rooted in our relationship with Jesus.

For, we have been blessed with unique gifts and talents, empowered to use them and then placed in certain positions so that we can glorify Him with those gifts and talents. Therefore, we should surrender our stubborn will and serve Jesus. Our purpose lies in Him. Not in us. But in Him. It is for Him that we live. It is for Him that we breathe. It is for Him that we do everything that we do.

Dr. King put it this way in the last speech he gave before he was assassinated

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I JUST WANT TO DO GOD'S WILL. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land! And so, I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man! Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!! (Dr. King, I've been to the mountaintop speech)

He said that longevity has its place. But he is not concerned about that now. Instead, he is concerned about doing God’s will. It is not about his personal desires. It is all about doing god’s will.

Like Paul, Dr. King was a servant of the Lord and for him “To Live Was Christ”.

 

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