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“A great longing”

To be with Christ. —Philippians 1:23

Read Philippians 1:19-26

In today’s passage we meet a heavenly minded man who knew the pressures of this world; yet he did not try to escape from them. As an ambassador for Christ he desired to continue his work as long as his Master thought necessary (v. 20), while at the same time he speaks about his longing for heaven (vs.22, 23). Paul wanted to leave this world immediately in order to be rid of sin, pain, imprisonment, and opposition to the gospel. But most importantly, he would forever be with the Lord to enjoy the company of the Saviour.

Do you share Paul’s desires? Maybe you say to yourself; “I am too young. Paul was older and probably tired of this life.” How-ever, the last argument is not really true, and the first argument is no reason for you to put it aside. You too can experience this desire in your heart. Initially you may only desire to be with Christ for brief moments, for your old nature still clings to this world. But when you live close to the Lord then this longing for the Lord becomes stronger.

Just think what it would be like to be delivered from your old sinful nature, to see the Saviour with your own eyes, to love, serve, and praise Him forever. Do you long for this? Article 37 of our Belgic Confession says it this way: Therefore we expect that great day with a most ardent desire to the end that we may fully enjoy the promises of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. The Lord is coming! Are you expecting Him?

Do you understand the inward conflict Paul experienced in his life?


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