By Dr. Michael Rodriguez
Teaching Pastor, First Baptist Church Brandon
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21
Every year, Apple debuts new iPhones to a watching world. These devices are incredible inventions, but there are a couple of things I’m certain of. During the presentation, I’m pretty sure they don’t say, “And look how this new iPhone can now be used as a door stop. Just place it under a door and jam it in until the door stops.” And I’m sure they don’t say, “Look at this new feature, with your new iPhone, you can now spread butter on your bread more smoothly and efficiently.”
These things are not said about the iPhone because the greatest potential is reached and the highest satisfaction is enjoyed when the thing is used for its created intent. Which, for an iPhone, is to be a personal computer that has a phone feature! Of course you could use an iPhone as a door stop or to spread butter, but that would be wasted potential.
Potential from created intent produces freedom. Freedom is not the absence of limitation, it’s the ability to pursue created intent. A fish is most free when it swims. A bird is most free when it flies. Whatever we were made to do…let us live in that freedom. Everyone can tell you what they do. But very few can tell you why they do what they do. On the one hand, we can embrace the Creator’s intent, but on the other hand, we are supposed to create our own intent. So the question is, do I pursue God in how He made me or do I just do whatever I want to do?
The same God who used Moses’ rod and David’s sling used Paul’s chains. Little did the Romans realize that the chains they bound to his wrists would release Paul instead of bind him. For the cause of Christ, Paul appears ready and willing to trade in things many of us hold sacred every day – namely, our sense of justice and security…but in reality, he is the one who has found his freedom.
Sometimes God has to put “chains” on His people to get them to accomplish something greater that could never happen any other way. In the midst of terrible circumstances we ought to ask what God is going to do rather than complaining about what God did not do.
Because of Paul’s chains, Christ was known, Christ was preached, and Christ was magnified. When God promises life to those who trust Him, He gives eternal life. Paul knew this and we ought to know that there is a greater day coming and the purpose of life is to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel. To live in such a way that shows what we believe is of supreme worth.
No matter how you look at it, nothing can steal your joy if you’re living for your created intent. That thing that excites and motivates you is the thing that really is “life” to you. So, for you to live is _____ and to die is _____. How would you fill in those blanks? Do you know what you were created for? Don’t waste your life on purpose that’s not worth living or dying for.