23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.
These scriptures for me have always depicted the basic struggle of those that have faith in Christ. Once our eyes are open to the reality that we have been reconciled to God through Jesus how could we not want to be with Him in eternity? Paul himself recognized that it would be far better to be in Heaven than dealing the broken state of this physical world. I know that I feel like this from time to time, especially when times are challenging or difficult.
So why go on? Paul states it simply. We should go on because of others. There is such a undercurrent in the culture today that motivates us to live for ourselves. Most messages we are bombarded with encourage us to find the thing that fulfills us on a personal level. Its funny if you asked most people if they are striving to be selfish most would say they are not, but I would argue that most of us are. We are trying to do whatever we can to find personal peace and comfort in our daily existence. The powerful thing about the Gospel and faith in Christ is that we are fulfilled. There is nothing that will bring us greater satisfaction than resting in the peace of Jesus and His atoning work on the cross. Yet, we still try to fill ourselves we other things because we are still here in the flesh. Paul reminds in these verses that we remain here to encourage others. Love and service flows from the lives of those who no longer need anything because they abide in Christ.
For me the application of these verses are 2 fold. 1) I need to remind myself of my position in Christ. I need to spend time in prayer and meditation connecting with the Father and stripping away the noise that keeps me from remembering that I am completely fulfilled in Jesus and 2) I need to quit focusing on myself and focus on the needs of others. I need to be a conduit for the love of Christ looking for opportunities to encourage fellow believers in the Lord and opportunities to share the Gospel with those who do not know it.
Father, thank you for your abiding word. Thank you that you love me and speak to me through your Spirit. Forgive my sin and cleanse me from unrighteousness. Father, help me rest in the reality of your peace and love. Purge from me the desire to seek comfort in the things of world. Help me be better at loving and pouring myself out for others. I love you Father and I offer you praise. In Jesus’ name. Amen.