A Life of Urgency
As he took his leave of the Ephesian elders in Acts 20, the apostle Paul felt an urgent compulsion from the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. He had no idea what would happen to him when he got there, but he had a clear sense that hard times and imprisonment awaited him. Then he made this staggering statement: “I do not account my life of any value.”
This was not masochism—some strange hatred of happiness, health, or physical life. So what, then, did Paul mean by declaring his life valueless? Simply this: that he did not regard his life as so precious a possession as to be held on to at all costs.
People often say, “Well, as long as you’ve got your health, that’s all that matters!” But that is not all that matters! Our bodies are passing away. We’re crumbling even as we live and breathe. We may have our health today, but a day will come when we do not. Unless we’re able to say with Paul, “To live is Christ,” we cannot legitimately affirm with him, “and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). The only way that death can be gain is if Christ is everything. And if Christ is everything, as Paul says He is, then we can declare with him, My life is not ultimate. I don’t need to protect it as the most precious thing I have. I want to spend it for the most precious person I know.
What mattered most to Paul was that he finished his life trusting Christ and carried out to the best of his abilities the ministry Christ had given him. He felt a compelling resolve to complete the task of testifying to “the gospel of the grace of God” everywhere he could reach. There’s a task! There’s a purpose, significance, an agenda, a calling! And this is a task that has been entrusted to all of us—the commission to let everyone we meet know the good news of God’s amazing grace.
How are you, like Paul, to live a life of urgency so that you might keep going until the end? You must run your race with all your might, with the finish line in view. Don’t look for an opportunity to bow out or slow down before the final lap is over. Run with all your strength and run right through the tape, gripped by Christ’s love, energized by God’s Spirit, and guided by God’s word.
27Only let your manner of life be worthy8 of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
Christ's Example of Humility
1So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
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