Philippians 1:21-24 (NIV) For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
If you had no knowledge of who Jesus is and what He means to someone's life, you would read the passage of scripture above and conclude that the Apostle Paul had a death wish. He plainly says that he desired to depart and be with Christ. That sounds like he wanted to die. But that's not it at all. Paul was thinking about living, not dying.
Jesus said that He was the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). In talking about Jesus coming into this world, John said it this way, "The life appeared." (1 John 1:2) Jesus is not only the way to life, but He is life itself. All life originates with Him and is sustained by Him. So Paul, by saying that to depart and be with Christ is better by far, is really saying that to leave this earth to be in the presence of the one who is life is better. To head towards Jesus is to head towards life.
The Apostle Paul found the secret of powerful living, which is that life here on earth is at its fullest when we are caught up with Jesus and with His purpose for us. That's what the fruitful labor that he mentions is all about. When you are caught up with Jesus, you automatically want to share the good news with others. In seeing others come to Jesus (that is fruitful labor), that brings joy and meaning to your life. So while you are alive here on earth, you will be living in Christ who is your life and when you die, you go on living with Him in heaven for all eternity. That is a win, win situation!
Life is found in no one else but Jesus because He is life. He is also the "eternal life" (1 John 1). That means that after our bodies give out, we go on living in eternity. In eternity, there will be no more sorrow, pain, or tears. There will be no more worries, problems, or bills. Just fullness of joy. That's why Paul actually had a "life" wish. To him, life here on earth meant life with Christ, for Christ, through Christ and life afterwards would be even better. How about you? Do you have a life wish? Your life wish is Jesus!
Pastor Joey Vazquez