Let’s read Philippians 1:21-26, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.”

Because of Paul’s testimony for Christ, he spent much of his adult Christian life in jail. Even though he was extremely persecuted for his testimony, he said in 1 Timothy 1:12, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.” His prison terms did not cause him to be bitter or less faithful to the Lord. He loved the Lord and longed to be with Him.

Paul had a desire “to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.” That should be true of every believer. We read in Colossians 3:1-3, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. SET YOUR AFFECTION ON THINGS ABOVE, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Paul’s heart was set on Heavenly things. Even though he was greatly educated, he valued eternal things, not the temporal passing things of the world. In fact, Paul tells us in Philippians 3:20, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (NASB). We who are saved are pilgrims in this world. Our true home is in heaven, the dwelling place of our dear savior. Search your own heart. Is there a desire to be with the Lord? Do you long to dwell above? Do you want to be in that place that is “far better?” This is the mark of a true believer. His heart is with the Lord. He longs for Heavenly things. He looks forward to his eternal dwelling place.

However, for as long as the Lord leaves us here, we have much to do! Paul said, “I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith.” He knew that his work here was not complete. As a servant of the Lord, he still had work to do to honor the Lord, to minister to his fellow saints, and to share the Gospel with the lost. It should delight our souls to know that the Lord wants to use us while we are here. The Lord Jesus sadly proclaimed in Matthew 9:37, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.” Oh, dear fellow Christian, the Lord calls upon us to ‘work the fields’ during our life on the earth. What a glorious occupation! So, while we long to be with the Lord, we can delight in serving Him as His representatives on the earth. How precious it would be, after a life of faithful service, to have the Lord say to us, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21).

Shortly before his death, the Apostle Paul declared in 2 Timothy 4:6-8, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I HAVE FINISHED MY COURSE, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” May we also be FAITHFUL. May we FIGHT. May we FINISH. May we KEEP THE FAITH. There is much, much joy in following and serving the Lord. Find your delight in Him and in serving Him. It is a blessed life, indeed. (315.4)