November 26, 2023 | Duane Roberts
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“If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.”—Philippians 1:22–26 (NIV)
Have you ever been on a long car ride and just really wanted to go home, yet you also felt like the car ride was an important time of connecting with those around you and stopping to see different places and people along the way? Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes this tension of wanting to be home yet wanting to explore and live on purpose wherever I am is difficult to navigate. That’s exactly what Paul was experiencing here.
Writing from prison, Paul is currently in a state that makes it understandable for him to want to be home with Jesus already–completely restored and in perfect communion with Christ. Nonetheless, he knew the importance of his ministry on Earth. He knew God was still using him and working both in and through him.
While he acknowledged this desire, he didn’t let it prevent him from living on purpose. He allowed the promise of one day being with Jesus forever to anchor him and give him perspective and hope in difficult situations. Instead of becoming a distraction, this became his fuel to keep living for Christ. As he had just written in the verse prior, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21 NIV).
Oftentimes, we can struggle with this tension, too. Living in such a broken and confused world, I’ve found myself hoping for Jesus to come back multiple times. I’ve found myself thinking of what it would be like to just be in His presence already, yet the Holy Spirit ensures that these thoughts lead to productivity in my faith. These thoughts allow me to be hopeful and strengthened to continue seeking Christ, dive into the Word, make His name and truth known, and live on purpose to love God and others.
You may have heard this saying before, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” I believe it’s about both. The destination is what we can be excited about when the journey feels difficult or long, yet the journey is just as valuable and sweet as the destination because it’s where we get to know our Savior personally and trust Him with every step of the way. The destination is where we get to meet our Savior, Jesus Christ, face to face!
Praise God for His faithfulness to us in every part of our stories! May we never forget to look at the destination with hope, yet set our eyes on what the Lord has for us right now.
Pause: Where have you struggled to anchor yourself in the hope of your future with Christ? Where have you perhaps focused too much on that destination and forgotten about the journey and purpose God has for you on Earth?
Practice: If you find yourself leaning more towards one side or the other, make a list today of what truth and hope the other side holds. Whether it be about the destination or the journey, how do God’s promises and faithfulness help you to keep moving forward?
Pray: Good and faithful Father, thank You for granting me hope in this life that can sometimes seem hopeless. Thank You for a firm foundation I can build my life upon so that when the storms come, I’m not completely broken. Although I may get shaken up, You won’t. May I trust in You today and set my eyes on Your hope and truth so I can continue taking the steps you have for me to take here. To live is Christ and to die is gain, Father. I love you. Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.