Life At Its Best

Title: Life At Its Best

Bible Book: Philippians 1 : 21

Author: Ernest L. Easley

Subject: Christian Living; Salvation; Joy; Meaning in Life; Purpose



What does “life” really mean to you? What is your interpretation of the phrase “real living?” There are so many people living today that are living active lives; but they are also living empty lives. They keep adding more activities and new adventures to their lives trying to find something that will fill the void and emptiness they have on the inside.

The Bible has much to say about living and life in general. The Word of God speaks of the Blessing of Life. The blessing of life is not the fact that you are born and you are living. The Blessing of life comes from knowing the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Living for Jesus is not a boring life - It Is A Blessed Life! Living for Jesus is the greatest and grandest thing a person can do. You can’t be bored when you are constantly filled with the Joy that Jesus gives.

We are not only told the Blessing of Life - the Word of God also speaks of the Brevity Of Life. James 4:14, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For What Is Your Life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

James is letting us know that life is here one day, and it may be gone the next. Life should be precious to every one of us. Life ought to be lived to its fullest! Life is too valuable to waste. I believe that you should live your life just one day at a time. When you do, then you will just begin to understand just how precious and valuable life really is.

I want to talk to you for just a few moments about Life At Its Best. If you are going to live life to its fullest, then I believe that there is only one way to live it.

Here in our text, we find the best way to live life. Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Paul was teaching us that there is basically one way to live your life. You should live it for Jesus.

Someone said it best: “You have one life and it will soon be past; but only what done for Christ will last.”

You may be wondering, “What does it mean to live for Christ?” Paul answers this question for us. I believe if Paul was standing before us, he would say it this way; “Life At Its Best Means To Live For The Lord.”

I. To Live For Christ Is An Experienced Life

Paul said, “For to me to live is Christ.” Paul was not talking about a life that he read about. He was not talking about something that someone told him about. He was talking about real life in Christ. He was talking about the fact that he had experienced this life.

A. How Personal It Is

Paul said, “For To Me Live is Christ.” Paul becomes very personal when he talks about living for Christ. He had experienced a new way of living when He met the Lord.

The Psalmist became personal when he talked about his relationship with the Lord. He said in Psalms 23:1, “The Lord Is My Shepherd, I shall not want.”

The Psalmist also said in Psalms 27:1, “The Lord is My light and My Salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of My life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

In Colossians 1:27 we are told that living for Christ is “Christ In You, the hope of glory.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us “If Any Man be in Christ, he is a new creature…”

Paul had to make a personal choice when he received Christ. If you study the life of Paul, you will discover that he was ‘religious,’ but he didn’t know the Lord. He had a good position in life, but he didn’t know the Lord on a personal basis. One day, the Lord spoke to Paul and he gave his heart and life to the Lord. No one was there to force him to make his decision. No one was there to encourage him to make a decision. Paul wasn’t really looking for the Lord, but the Lord was looking for Paul. The Lord came to where Paul was; and he was gloriously saved.

The only way that you can ever live for Christ is to first have a personal experience with the Lord; a personal relationship with the Lord; asking Jesus to forgive you of your sins; and asking Him to come and live in your heart.

You may not be looking for the Lord, but the Lord is looking for you. In fact, He may deal with your heart today. He may be dealing with your heart right now. Jesus wants to become your Savior and Lord. The Lord will come to you personally. He will deal with you personally. And He wants you to receive Him personally.

You don’t have to change the way you live before you receive Christ. You don’t have to quit doing certain things in order to receive Christ. All you have to do is come to Jesus - and He will change your life!

B. How Practical It Is

If you listen to the average person talk about life, you will hear them talking about “life” as being just a grind. They get up every morning about the same time; they eat basically the same breakfast. They get into the same car about the same time; drive the same way at the same speed to work; go to the same job; do practically the same things on the job. They get off work; come home the same way; fix supper about the same time; sit down and read the newspaper and watch the same programs on television.

They buy their automobiles by driving it a certain amount of years, and putting on it so many miles. They purchase so many clothes in a period of time. To most people, life is just a “rat race” and there is no real meaning and no real purpose in it.

When Paul talked about living, he said “For to me to Live”. Paul practically used a capital “L” when he talked about living. To Paul, life was more than just existing; it was “daily living.” Paul did more than just live to see Sunday just so he could go to Church. “Living” to Paul was fully living his life, day by day, moment by moment, for Jesus.

Paul wanted to live Like Jesus; that was his Character.

Paul wanted to live With Jesus; that was his Companion.

Paul wanted to live For Jesus; that was his Conduct.

You could not sidetrack Paul; you could not detour Paul. He had one direction, and that direction was Jesus. Jesus was his life. Paul took his life seriously. Paul knew that there was more to life than just the daily grind of daily living. He knew that real life was in Christ, and that brought joy to his life.

You may be wondering how Paul stayed on this course of living day by day for Jesus. You may be wondering how he kept from being sidetracked in his life. Now Paul didn’t tell us that living for Christ was easy, but he does indicate that living for Christ is possible and practical.

1. The Source Of Paul’s Life Was Christ

All Paul talked about was Jesus. All Paul thought about was Jesus. Paul treasured Jesus. Paul thanked Jesus. Everywhere Paul turned, life was real to him; it had meaning to him, because his life was Jesus. Jesus was pictured in every thought Paul had. Jesus was played in every song Paul sung. Jesus was the priority of every sermon Paul preached. While others were looking for life, Paul had found it in Jesus.

I heard about a man who was playing a cello in an Orchestra. He had his finger on one spot sawing back and forth on just one note. Someone came up to him after the performance and said, “That’s not quite the way to play that cello is it? I noticed that the other people moved their fingers up and down. You just kept your finger in one place on one note. Why was that?” The man said, “They were looking for it; I’ve found it.”

In Jesus, Paul found every thing he was looking for. When he woke up, it was Jesus. When Paul had guards chained to him, it was Jesus. When he ate a meal, it was Jesus. When Paul lay down to sleep, it was Jesus. He was so consumed with Jesus that nothing else really mattered. Jesus was his source of living.

2. The Strength Of Paul’s Life Was Christ

Paul makes it clear in 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheth me.” Here was Paul’s secret to life. Paul is saying that when Jesus Christ is in your life, He becomes the source of your strength to make the victorious abundant life possible.

There are people that have told me, “Preacher, I just can’t live up to that kind of life. I just can’t live the Christian life.” There are those that have told me, “Preacher, I have tried that Christian stuff, and it doesn’t work for me.”

I want to take this thought one step further. The Christian Life Is Impossible To Live. The Christian life is not a life that can be lived “naturally”. The Christian life is a life that is lived “Supernaturally.”

So many people misunderstand what being a Christian is all about. The Christian life is not my living for Jesus. The Christian life is Jesus living In me! When a person receives Jesus Christ into their heart, they get Power, wonder-working Power to live a Supernatural life.

3. The Supply Of Paul’s Life Was Christ

Paul said in 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Paul could look back while he was in prison and remember the times he was shipwrecked. He remembered being alone without friends, family, food or fortune. And yet he said, “I can say without hesitation, God met my every need.”

I am glad that I can give you some good news! There is no need that you have that Jesus cannot meet. There is no need that you could ever conjure up in your mind that God cannot meet.

I would like to take a moment and mention to you that there are some things God cannot do. God cannot deny His Word. “Let God be true and every man a liar.” God cannot turn away a sinner who wants to be saved “He that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” God cannot lose one of His Children “No man shall be able to pluck them out of My hand.” God cannot refuse to meet any genuine need in your life.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: “If you trust in God, He cannot, He will not fail you.”

4. The Shout Of Paul’s Life Was Christ

Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” Paul did not have a 'half-a- hallelujah.’ He did not have a ‘half-hearted joy.’ Paul’s joy was real. Paul’s shout was real. His joy was in Jesus.

Paul did not rejoice in the fact that he was in prison. He rejoiced in the fact that Jesus lived in his heart, and prison life couldn’t change that.

Paul wrote these words while he was in prison. This prison he was in was a dark, dingy, dirty, dreaded dungeon. Every 6 hours, they would send in a new guard to be chained to his wrist.

While he was in prison under these conditions, with his sore wrists, he would pen down words like “joy” and "rejoice." While writing these words down, the guards would change; and while they changed, Paul did not know if the next guard would come in would be the guard that would take him to his execution.

But Paul does not write words that are filled with pity; he writes words that are filled with Praise! Paul wasn’t given 6 months to live. In fact, he wasn’t even given 6 minutes to live. Moment by moment, each moment filled with pain - Paul rejoiced in the Lord; not about his surrounding circumstances.

Paul was saying “Every moment of my life, I am rejoicing in the Lord.” Paul was not a thermometer registering his conditions. Paul was a thermostat regulating his conditions! Paul was not a man “under” his circumstances - Paul was a man Over his circumstances.

5. The Satisfaction Of Paul’s Life Was Christ

Philippians 3:7,8 - “But what things were gain to me, those I count loss for Christ. (8) Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” Paul was satisfied with what the Lord had done for him and given to him.

Paul’s material things were gone, but Paul’s Master, the Lord Jesus, was still alive and well. That was satisfaction to him. Paul could live his life for Christ because He had experienced knowing Christ as his Personal Lord and Savior.

II. To Live For Christ Is An Expressed Life

Paul makes it clear that his life (1:21) - “Is Christ.”

Look back at Philippians 1:20, “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.”

Paul lived a life filled with Christ, and everybody around him knew it. Paul not only experienced Christ, he expressed Christ through his life. Paul expressed his life for Christ this way: “that in nothing I   shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness.” Paul would not shy away; he would not hide his face; he would not compromise when it came to his stand for Christ.

Paul’s “earnest expectation” was focusing his life on Christ, and he was not ashamed about it. The words “earnest expectation” comes from a compound of 3 words which speak “of looking away from what may be right at hand and totally concentrating on another object.” He was focused on living for Christ.

A. He Expressed Christ By His Countenance

Look again at 1:20 - “… so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body.”

“Magnify” - literally means ‘to make large’ It was used in a figurative sense to exalt or Glorify. Someone has said, “A Christian must keep the faith but not to himself.”

Paul knew that people around him needed to know Christ and see Christ. He wanted to be that example. He wanted to express a life that was filled with Christ.

J.H. Jowett was preaching in a Mission in New York. Before he preached, one of the men prayed for him. Here is what he prayed, “Oh Lord, we pray for our brother. Now blot him out! Reveal Thy Glory to us in such blazing splendor that the preacher shall be forgotten.”

I believe that Paul’s prayer was that he would be blotted out. Paul wanted Christ to be Praised - Honored - and Glorified in and through his life. Paul didn’t want to be admired - he wanted Christ to be adored. Paul didn’t want people to compliment him - he wanted people to be captivated with Christ.

Look again at the word “magnified”. Keep in mind that the word “magnified” - means ‘to make large’. Paul is talking about Christ being exhibited and revealed through his life.

One writer translated Paul’s statement this way: “My body shall be the theater in which the glory of Christ shall be exhibited.”

Paul wanted his body to be a showcase for Jesus. He considered himself an earthly frame for a heavenly picture.

There are 2 ways something is magnified. You can magnify something by means of telescope. A telescope takes that which is far away and brings it near and visible. You can magnify something by means of a microscope. It takes that which is invisible and makes it visible. (1)- Paul wanted the Christ Who was seated in Heaven to be seen on earth. (2)- Paul wanted Christ to be visible and vocal through his life.

Our lives ought to be like a magnifying glass for the Lord Jesus Christ so others can see the characteristics of Christ.

I once read about a statue of Christ that was damaged in a bombing raid. The hands were both broken off. They first intended to repair the statue by replacing the hands - but then they thought otherwise. Instead of replacing the hands, they put an inscription on the statue that said; “He Has No Hand But Our Hands.”

If this world is going to see Christ they will see Him in our lives. He will be revealed through our bodies. Our hands must be His hands - our eyes His eyes - our mouth His mouth - our feet His feet.

B. He Expressed Christ By His Commitment

Look at the last part of 1:20 - “… so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.”

Paul expressed a committed life to Christ. Paul was in it for the long haul. He felt that Christ was worth living for, and worth dying for.

III. To Live For Christ Is An Extended Life

Paul said; “For to me to live is Christ, And To Die Is Gain.”

Paul made up his mind that he was going to live for Christ in this life and if he died, he knew that he would go to be with Christ. Paul’s life was To Live For Christ And To Be With Christ!

It really didn’t matter to him what the Lord wanted him to do. He was ready for both life and death. Whether It Was Earthly Life Or Eternal Life - Paul's Life Was Christ!

A. The Reality Of Death

The words “to die is gain” means that Paul knew that he could die and if Jesus didn’t come back, he would eventually die.

No one likes to talk about death, but death is real. Death is no respecter of persons. Death knocks at the door of the old, and the young. There is nothing good about death unless you know the Lord Jesus Christ.

B. The Readiness For Death

Paul talks about death being “gain” - “to die is gain.” The word “gain” is a word that means “profitable.” It was used to speak of interest that money had gained. Paul was saying, "Death is not terrible, but profitable." These are not words of a man trying to be brave and heroic. These were solemn words from a realist that knew what death was, and to him, death was going to be profitable.

Notice in verse 23 – “having a desire to depart and to be with Christ; which is far better.” Now notice what it was in particular - that Paul considered a “gain” in death. Christ had been with him, but death would allow him to be with Christ. Paul had lived for Christ, but he had a desire to live with Christ, which to him was a far better life. To Paul, death would do more than just put him in an earthly cemetery. To Paul, death would usher him into the Heavenly Sanctuary. Paul said from start of finish - His Life Was Christ And Christ Only! Paul was a winner whether in life or in death with Jesus Christ.


Years ago there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for collecting art. They traveled together around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works of Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, and many others decorated the walls of his home.

During the wintertime, his son was called to serve his country. After a few short weeks, his father received a telegram that his son had been missing in action. He feared that he would never see his son again. His fears were confirmed; his son had died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic.

The Christmas holidays were very lonely for the father. His son would no longer visit his house again. On Christmas morning, a young man knocked on his door with a large package in his hands. He introduced himself as the young man that his son had rescued. In the large package was a picture of the father’s son. No one except the father would ever think that this picture would be a work of a genius. The father hung the picture over the fireplace; pushing aside the thousands of dollar’s worth of art. The painting would never be removed again as long as he was alive.

The father became more intense about the picture of his son when dozens of soldiers sent word that his son had helped them while they were wounded. They knew this father’s son as a man with a caring heart.

The following spring the father became ill and passed away. The thousands of dollar’s worth of art would be sold; many art collectors would show up for an auction. There was one catch to the selling of all the paintings. The painting of his son had to be sold first. Many who showed up for the auctioning of the art collection were angry because they had to sit there while the painting of the father’s son was sold first.

The bidding began at $10.00. Finally, a man said that he would take the painting for $10.00. The auctioneer’s gavel fell; cheers went up, but the auctioneer then took his gavel and walked away. The others were stunned. They shouted; “On with the other treasures. We want to buy the other paintings.” The Auctioneer said; “The bidding is over. Let me explain. According to the father - Whoever Takes The Son, Gets It All!

You could say that Paul had it all. He had Christ! Christ was his life. Christ was everything to him. And when he came to the time when he was to die, Paul still had everything when he had Christ. It was gain; it was profitable.

What is your answer? “For to me to live is...” Whatever you put in that space will determine where you will spend eternity. Only a person who has personally received Christ into their life will profit from it in this life and in the life to come. When you receive Christ and live for Christ, you will live Life At Its Best!

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