“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” – Paul
We read on and find that he only chooses to stay alive because of the good he can do to others, but he really wants to depart and be with Christ.
From birth we have been taught that this is stupid. We are safe, dangerous people. Physically we are about the safest people on the planet. Almost everything we do is about preserving lives at the highest cost. Survival is our greatest good. Death is the greatest enemy. This, ultimately, is horribly dangerous as it leads us to totally re-interpret the Bible that teaches whoever will gain his life must lose it.
The foolishness of God teaches that death is the doorway to the greatest adventure of all. Paul never speaks badly about death. He even calls it sleeping. Death is to be welcomed by the believer. This is why one of the stupidest questions a believer can ask when moving or thinking about a new ministry is “Is it safe?”. Don’t ask that! When does Christ ever command you to be safe or careful or timid? He tells you to preach, to serve, to give, to die. All for him!
Now you will say to me, “Now, Matt, God gave us a brain and we’re supposed to use it.” That line has been used to justify countless sins. I suggest you never use it. But let’s address it anyway. God gave us this brain, yes? What does the brain say? If the brain is fed on a steady diet of the world it will say what the world says. If this happens please don’t trust your brain as far as you could throw it. If your brain is fed by the Word I think it would look very foolish to the world. This is a good thing. The Word says that those who count everything (like life, love, pleasure, toys, fame, power, etc.) as loss compared to Christ are good to go. Those who count their life as important will lose it.
The safety mindset we have is stifling the Church. We are more concerned with our safe, big houses and safe, big savings accounts and safe, big cars than we are with the beauty of Christ. I know it’s true because that’s the only issue people had with me coming over to Pakistan. “Isn’t it dangerous?” No, actually, it isn’t. And even if it was, what difference does it make? Ask yourself, “What difference does it make to me if I die?” The answer, if you love Christ, is wonderful! A wonderful difference! The greatest difference I could imagine! I will be free! I still choose to stay in the world because I have been placed here to do good, but I won’t argue once God says that it’s time to go! Stop fearing death and pain so much. These fears with be self-realized if we hold on to them too tightly.