Monday, May 7
Fighting for Life
Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
Paul has suffered greatly for the sake of the gospel. Christians in Philippi have, too. In writing to encourage them, Paul admits that there are times he thinks it would be easier to surrender to death and go to live with Christ. But if he surrendered to death, many people would miss the opportunity to learn from him. He encouraged the Philippians also to remain strong, not to surrender to their suffering, and to continue to work for Christ and in Christ.
Maybe you've experienced times when it seemed it would be easier to surrender to suffering, maybe even death. Paul certainly didn't want anyone to suffer needlessly, and he knew that there was so much more life to live. More people to meet. More celebrations to celebrate. More losses to mourn. Despite the pain, we were created to experience life to its fullest. That means the highs and the lows. And it means celebrating life and enduring suffering together. Leaning on each other. Crying and laughing together. It's worth hanging on. We were made to live.
(If you are suffering from depression or contemplating suicide, please ask for help. You are worth fighting for.)
Narrative Lectionary Text: Philippians 1:18b-30
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance. It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death.
For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.
Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well—since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.