In this passage Paul not only reveals his confidence of the unfettered advance of the gospel in spite of his imprisonment and in site of those who preach Christ from unworthy motives but he also lays his heart bare and reveals the deep motives of his own heart. Whether he lives or dies his deepest longing is that Christ be exalted in his body.
This remarkable passage reveals a man who is so gripped by the love of Christ that he is torn between his desire for fruitful labor in this present life and his longing to be with Christ, the latter he describes as being better by far. It is his longing that others might share his joy in Christ that convinces him that he will continue among them. In spite of suffering he wants his life above all to serve Christ's purpose - this alone is a life worth living.'
As we reflect this Sunday on Paul's life and motives and the ground for all his joy and confidence even in the face of death may God search our own hearts and fill us with the same freedom and joy that was his.
John DUNKLEY BTh, Dip.Min. and Dip. Pastoral Studies. He is an ordained Baptist minister and has pastored a number of Baptist churches. He has also ministered at Westcare Baptist Mission - an inner city ministry and served as a voluntary Police Chaplain.