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Living and Dying

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

Do you have a favorite TV show? I like anything that has to do with history, mystery and suspense. A recent statistic states that the average American spends 15 years of his or her life in front of the television set—15 years! I think it takes away from family time but probably 50% of Americans watch it during dinner with their family. I am not saying we cannot watch TV. Sure, we need to watch things that honor Christ and bring us closer to Him, but we can sure waste a lot of time in front of it. I sure have.

I am a channel surfer. My wife likes to watch HGTV and anything to do with weddings and babies. Some of that is ok, but to me is not fun. Therefore, I try to gain possession of the remote so I can start clicking. I like to watch about eight things at once and skip all the commercials. I have been amazed at how I will sit down and say, “I am just going to watch this one show,” but when I look at my watch, time has flown by. As a result, I have wasted time and feel half brain-dead. Someone once said, “Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you would not have in your home.” How true.

Now the purpose of this article is not to be against television. It’s an illustration for a bigger problem. Here’s the purpose: “What are we living for and spending our lives on?” We can squander time – really life – by watching television and doing other meaningless things as well. The point: let’s not throw our lives away. Let’s wisely use the precious moments God gives to us each day, each month, and each year, and let’s use them for Him in things that really matter like glorifying God, the Gospel, and discipleship. After all, loving God and loving people are the greatest commandments. We will stand before Him on that final day and I want it to be said about my life, “For him living was Christ, and in dying he found true gain” (Philippians 1:21). You only get to say “To die is gain” if you said “to live is Christ.”

Maybe your life says, “To live is sports,” or “To live is music.” Everyone lives for something. It’s important to know that what you spend time, talent, and treasure on is what you live for. Hobbies are good and I have some I truly enjoy. That’s not what I’m speaking of. I’m talking about living your life for Christ and not wasting it on temporary, meaninglessness. What is it that motivates your life? Is it the next reality TV show? Is it a particular sport? Is it your kids? Or, is it Christ?

Christ lived for us and He also died for us. Shouldn’t we live for Him in return? Shouldn’t His love for us and our love for Him be our motivation for life? I challenge you to inspect your lifestyle and allow Jesus to be your motivation for living. What do you live for? How great it is to be able to say, “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

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Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.

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