Oct. 5, 2020

What Does Philippians 1:22-24 Mean?

What Does Philippians 1:22-24 Mean?

Philippians 1:22-24 (NIV): 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.”

In today's Bible verse, Paul is torn between two desires: to continue serving Christ here on earth or to depart and be with Christ forever.

I think we all deal with these feelings when life gets hard. I know that I have struggled with the purpose of life during the last 3 days. Isn't it amazing how exhaustion can really mess with your mind??

Join in today, and see how Paul dealt with these feelings. 

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Transcript

Hey, welcome to The Simple Truth. I’m Julie Carruth. 

My daughter and I used to play piano and belt out hymns for my mom when we’d visit her in the Alzheimer’s unit of her nursing home. And the one song that always seemed to bring her the most joy was the song, “I’ll Fly Away.” Maybe you know it? “Some glad mornin' when this life is over, I'll fly away. To a home on God's celestial shore, I'll fly away.” 

Someone else who longed for those celestial shores was the Apostle Paul. While writing Philippians, Paul begins to battle with thoughts that I think we all deal with when life gets tough. He says in Philippians 1:22-24,” 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.”

You see, Paul is torn between two desires. Either continue serving Christ here on earth or depart and be with Christ forever. The word Paul uses gives the image of a traveler who has a wall of rock on either side of him. One wall is what Paul wants – that is to die and be with Jesus. The other wall is what the Philippians need – and that is for Paul to remain and continue leading others to Christ. 

It’s like our saying of “I’m caught between a rock and hard place.” 

When Paul speaks of “departing” he gives us a cool visual. Sailors used this word when they were moving from one port to another. They would loosen the ropes, pull up the anchors and set sail for the next port. Paul sees death as a departure from this earthly life and setting sail for God’s celestial shores. 

But then Paul’s convicted that it’s not about what he wants. It’s about what God wants. He says in verse 24, “but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” 

The words “it is more necessary” literally mean “very much better” in Greek. It’s kinda like saying, “I’m ready to depart and be with Christ but it’s WAAAAAAY way better for you if I stay.”

So, your simple Truth for today: Paul knew his purpose for living, and that was to serve others. We all have a purpose that goes beyond ourselves. What is your purpose? Until you fly away to your home on God’s celestial shores, God needs you here serving others with the gifts and talents that He’s given you.

Hey, thank you for continuing to listen. It’s simple to do. Just ask your Amazon smart speaker to “Play Bible Study.” 

I’m Julie Carruth. And I can’t wait to see you again tomorrow.