I was asked how I would fill in the blanks in this statement, “To live is _______ but to die is _______.” I was told not to just give the Sunday School answer but to give the answers I give my in my daily life, my rubber meets the road answer.

I realize my answer wavers about quite a lot. Living is often my job, my desires, my family, my problems and my afflictions. I know in my head and my heart that to live should be all about Christ and that he will change the way I respond to all the other things I want to fit in the living blank.

Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

When I replace Christ with things I want, things I covet and things I fear, to die is nothing but loss.

If I look out at my future and see death as nothing but a tragic end to a miserable life, I am not living Christ. To live Christ does more than give me a ticket into heaven. It transforms my life, even when I don’t think it possibly can be happening that way at all.

I cannot look back at a single trial in my life that hasn’t changed me in some way. Living Christ has allowed those changes to be great things. Replacing Christ with my own thoughts, feeling and wants has caused me to allow myself to be less.

Living Christ makes me sure that there will be some good come of my life, that my life will still mean a little something after I leave this earth and that I will have eternal life in a place that my understanding cannot comprehend.

It gives me hope that this life can’t get so far negative that bringing my account to zero would be an improvement. There is always a reason for tomorrow to happen even if I can’t see it.

To live is Christ. That should be my first thought when I open my eyes in the morning, not that this day is going to just suck and I want it over right now. If I refuse to allow myself a shot at treasuring each and every day, I certainly will be a poorer man for it.

Even though I strive to be my best, I fall short in remembering these four simple words when I go out and live each day. I replace Christ with all sorts of things time and again. When Paul wrote these words, he could have instead written that to live is prison, because that is where he was at the time. No one would have blamed him. But, as an example to me and you and whoever else reads this a couple thousand years later, he looked beyond his situation and penned truth.

To live is Christ and I need not fear what comes next because it is gain, it is what all of this life has been leading up to. The only things I have to lose are the things that afflict me, imprison me and hold me down when I fall. I think I can handle that.

To live is Christ. May we all live those words a little better today.

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