A Win-Win Situation
There are a lot of people in this world who don’t want to live. There are a lot of people in this world who don’t want to die.
Unfortunately, we are seeing a rise in people who don’t want to live. Many people today don’t see their life as worth living. The National Center for Health has revealed that over 47,000 people in 2017 committed suicide in the US. Suicide ranks as the 10th leading cause of death, and it ranks as the 2nd leading cause of death for 15-34-year olds. Depression, anxiety, and stress are real things, and people need the proper support system to help them through it.
This month is National Suicide Prevention Month. All month-long mental health advocates, prevention organizations, survivors, allies, and community members have united to promote suicide prevention awareness. For people who are really struggling, I’m encouraged by all the groups and organizations that are trying to address the problem. I also am encouraged that God is raising up more Christian counselors and mental health professionals who are Biblically-rooted and clinically-effective to help encourage those in need.
From a Pastor’s standpoint, as I look at this, I want to remind us all that God has designed each person with dignity. God values each one of us, and we are all made in His image. Because every person is made in His image, we each have something of great value, worth, and dignity (See Genesis 1:26-27).
Because of the effects of the fall and sin, this world is full of brokenness. We all are born in sin, and we need hope (see Romans 5:12). That hope is found in Jesus.
If you trust that Jesus is God and follow Him, you will automatically have a greater purpose to live for, and that is to bring Him glory and to serve other people. People today, now more than ever need to hear the message of the gospel: that Jesus came to save sinners like you and me. Jesus came to give us abundant life with a greater purpose that is beyond ourselves (see John 10:10).
In Jesus Christ, we have a life that is worth living.
Just like there are many people in this world who don’t want to live, there are also many people in this world who don’t want to die.
Francis Bacon once said, “Men fear death, as children fear the dark.”
Death can be a scary reality. People are afraid with how they are going to die, they are afraid of what happens when they die, and they are afraid that the next life won’t be as good as this life.
Well, I am here to tell you that if you trust in Jesus and live for Him, the next life is something to get excited about. Not only will we be with Jesus, we will also be in a world that has unlimited time and unlimited love. Heaven is a world that is perfect and beautiful. It’s a place that will far exceed our expectations.
Christians don’t need to be afraid of death because it will be a glorious homecoming!
When the Apostle Paul wrote the letter to the Philippian church, he was in jail for 2 years. He was chained up to a Jailor that was 18 inches away for 24/7. He did not know the outcome of his life, whether he would come out of jail alive or dead; however, the uncertainty didn’t bother him. Paul knew no matter what situation he was in, he was in a win-win situation. He says, “For to me to live is Christ, to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).”
If Paul continued living, that would be a win because he would continue living for Jesus and would serve others. He described it this way: “…with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death (Philippians 1:20).”
Paul’s main aim and purpose in life was to honor Jesus. The word honor in Greek (megalyno) means “to make big; to magnify; to enlarge.” When Jesus changed Paul’s life, Paul became a new man, and he began living for Someone that was greater than himsel (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). He wanted others to know Jesus. If Paul was released from jail, he would continue living a fruitful life. He said it this way: “If I am to lie in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me (Philippians 1:22).” Fruitful labor for Paul was to bring honor to Jesus and also to help others grow in their relationship with Jesus (see Philippians 1:24).
If Paul died, he knew that was a win because for Paul Jesus was the ultimate reward. The moment he would die would be the moment he would immediately pass into glory and be with Jesus. To die meant that Paul would possess Jesus in the fullest sense.
He said it this way: “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better (Philippians 1:23).” He also described this in 2 Corinthians 5:8:
We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
Paul is saying he would prefer to be in heaven because it will be a homecoming for the Christian, and he will be at home with Jesus. For the Christian, the moment we die will be the moment we will fully live.
Jesus said it this way, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though He dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die (John 11:25-26).”
DL Moody, the great preacher once said it this way, “Some day you will read in the papers that L Moody, of East Northfield, is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now!”
If you believe in Jesus, the moment you die will be the moment you will truly live in Heaven with Him. No wonder Paul said, “To die is gain.”
In Jesus Christ, we have a death that is worth dying.
So, if you are struggling today, remember the words of Paul: “For to me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.” If you believe Jesus came to this earth for you, and that He loves you, you have a life that is worth living and a death that is worth dying. Find hope in Jesus today, and your life will dramatically change! Only in Him can you find true peace, purpose, and joy.
For more on this, listen to my sermon: "A Win-Win Situation."