Philippians 1:21 has always been one of my favorite verses. I learned I like this….
“For me to live is Christ, to die is gain. ”
In college I went through my punk stage, seriously punk! Believe it or not I shaved the back of my head and my bangs were long (think revers mullet). I had the Doc Martin boots and dressed in thrift store clothes. If I wasn’t wearing boots I had Chuck Taylor’s that were totally graffiti’d up and that verse was very prominently scrawled on them. I saw this verse as the Christians answer to the anarchy symbol. Walking through life as a 19 year old Christian punk, I thought I had it all figured out. Little did I know, I didn’t. I was looking for my identity. I was looking to the punk scene, I was looking to the people around me, I was trying to stand out and be noticed…. My identity was important to me but I was looking in all the wrong places.
I love this translation of Philipians 1:20 – 21 from the Mirror Bible;
My thoughts are not trapped in my head! They roam free in expectation that I will not be ashamed by any contradiction! My immediately circumstances do not distract from my message! I am convinced that our conversation now and always will continue to give accurate account of the magnificence of Christ. The message is incarnate in me; whether I live or die, it makes no difference.
Christ defines my life; death cannot threaten or diminish that.
Paul wrote this at what was probably one of the lowest possible points of his life. He was in chains in a prison, yet his image and his identity was not defined by his suroundings or circumstances. He took his definition from who he was in Christ. “Christ defines my life” Was what he wrote, was what he believed.
What do you believe?
I am defined by the words of his mouth.
Any lessor source leads to insecurity. If you seek out your identity from your job, spouse, friends, popularity, wealth, etc you will always end up empty. Believing the lie is living the lie. Being found in Him leads to rest, leads wholeness, and completeness.