Paul, of all people, knew what it meant to look death in the face. Before he became a Christian, Paul was actively seeking out and killing Christians. On his way to Damascus (to kill more Christians), Paul was blinded by a bright light which says quite a bit considering it is believed that it was “high noon” when the bright light blinded Paul.
After his conversion, Paul went from one side of death to the other. He was no longer doing the killing, but he, himself, was being sought out to be killed. Paul went through “the Jews have given him their punishment of thirty-nine lashes with a whip. Three different times he was beaten with rods. One time he was almost stoned to death. Three times he was in ships that wrecked, and one of those times he spent a night and a day in the sea.” (2 Corinthians 11:24-25)
Even through all of this, Paul was joyful. While under house arrest in Rome, Paul wrote a letter to the Church of Philippi. He spoke of joy, unity, humility, self-sacrifice, and living the Christian life. A very important, but often overlooked scripture is Philippians 1:21
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
This tells us what Paul’s mindset was. He saw death as something great, but that didn’t make him suicidal. The first part of that verse, “to live is Christ” shows how Paul lived his life after he became a Christian. Paul felt privileged (Phil. 1:29) to suffer for the cause of Christ. He knew that Christ was the reason for his life and his sole purpose in life was to share the gospel with others. (Matthew 28:16-20)
What does that mean for us today?
- We should view our life not as ours, but The Lord’s.
- We should not be scared of death because that means being united with Christ in Heaven.
- We should not wish for death (even though that means being with Christ) because we still have a purpose on this Earth.
- Our main purpose is to share the gospel.