Some proclaim Christ from envy and rivalry but others from goodwill. These proclaim Christ out of love, knowing that I have been put here for the defense of the gospel; the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but intending to increase my suffering in my imprisonment. What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true, and in that I rejoice.
Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my salvation. It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way but that by my speaking with all boldness Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me, yet I cannot say which I will choose. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better, but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, so that, by my presence again with you, your boast might abound in Christ Jesus because of me.
The book of Philippians catches an important connection, note, indeed song in God’s story: the proclamation of the good news of God in Christ, and the Christ-life or life of Christ that is in the middle of that. There was nothing more important to Paul than this, both on a personal level, and in ministry in service to others. This was the heart and passion of Paul. So much in Philippians is so powerful, helpful and good in our quest as individuals and in community to be followers of Christ.
Why do we want to live? As believers and followers of Christ it should be similar or related to what Paul was talking about. Christ is in the center of that, God’s good news in him. And it’s about Christ’s life existing and being lived out in us, God’s people in him. And it’s a life not only for eternity, but for the life of the world even now. If this Christ-life doesn’t result in good works and a passion for the world now, how can we really imagine that we care much if at all for the eternal good of all?
This is what we’re to be devoted to. Because of Christ, centered in him, God’s will and the good news in him. We want to be devoted and have our part both as individuals and together in community in that. That is why we want to live, even our very life.