Paul urges us to have his perspective: "To live is Christ, and to die is gain" (v. 21).
With Paul's perspective on life, he cannot lose. Wherever he is, Paul considers it "the world" into which the Lord wants him to go to preach the Gospel. Even prison is a positive experience for Paul, because he is able to spread the Gospel there. And if he is to die, that is even better. To live is fruitful ministry, but to die is gain. Most of us have our affections too deeply implanted in the things of this world to identify with his perspective. We must learn to let go.
The Lord is worthy of our praise:
Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You. You show loving kindness to thousands, and repay the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them the Great, the Mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts. You are great in counsel and mighty in work, for Your eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings (Jeremiah 32:17-19).
Pause for praise and thanksgiving.
Now pray this confession to the Lord as you seek to keep your life free from sin:
Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your loving kindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me (Psalm 51:1-3).
Confess any sins that the Holy Spirit brings to your mind.
Then pray this affirmation to the Lord:
You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).
As you make your requests known to the Lord, include:
- An eternal perspective
- Your ministry in your local church
- Whatever else is on your heart
Finally, offer this prayer to the Lord:
To Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen (Ephesians 3:20-21).
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