Read all of Philippians 1.
Reread Philippians 1:22-25.
A Funny Dilemma
Understanding and embracing that being with Jesus is better by far than anything this world has to offer is a good movement in your life. Over-embracing this idea leads to depression. Honestly, if you never open your eyes to see Jesus here at work in you and in the world, and think of Him as ONLY being far away, waiting for you in heaven, you’re setting yourself up for a miserable life. That’s different than what He promises in John 10:10. Go read it.
<> Are you experiencing what you would call abundant life?
<> What does Paul say in Philippians 1:24-25 as to staying on earth?
Remember the two options that Paul is debating between here. Option 1: he DIES and goes to be with Jesus intimately (the better option according to him) or option 2: he continues on earth because it is necessary for the Philippians that he remain with them in the body.
<> Out of the two options which one is more selfishly satisfying?
<> Which option is easier?
<> Which option does Paul expect will happen?
<> Why doesn’t Paul seem angry about that fact?
Paul literally says that considering the fact that he’s more needed here on earth, he’s convinced God will leave him here for the moment despite his desire to be with Jesus. I don’t think he’s sad about the fact. I don’t think he’s mad at God or bitter that God would do this to him. I think Paul understood deeply and personally one of the craziest paradoxes of following Jesus.
Go read Matthew 10:39
<> What does our culture teach is the best approach to finding life?
<> How does the paradox of finding life by losing your life play out practically?
I don’t think this verse is referencing the ecstatic goose-bump-causing feeling you get from helping someone. I think the paradox is much more Christian and meaningful than surprisingly finding selfish sensuality where you didn’t expect it. I think it works like this: As you give your life away, you become more like Jesus. Jesus is life. Giving away your life helps you find Jesus so losing your life is finding your life . . . in Jesus.
Where humanism teaches us to look deep inside of ourselves to find our deepest truest desires and purposes, Jesus teaches us to pick up a cross and die to ourselves (Matt. 10:38, Luke 9:23). Jesus literally teaches us to look outside ourselves in order to find life and that it’s going to take intense sacrifice in order to get to it.
<> If knowing Jesus is the goal, how does this change your motive to serve?
<> What changes about your attitude in life understanding this paradox?
<> Is this the kind of idea that you can just know in your brain and never think about it or is it going to take some time to work out fully in your life?
A Funny Solution to a Funny Dilemma
Paul is faced with a dilemma: live or die. Die and get Jesus, live and help other people get Jesus while getting Jesus though not as fully as if I died. His response to this dilemma is to consider which option he wants less and assume that God will push him toward that solution because in his less preferred choice, Paul knows he will become more like Jesus.
The funny thing is that if you focus too much on dying and being intimately connected to Jesus someday, you risk becoming depressed with the constant struggle of separation while here on earth. The solution is that your life is not about you. AND as you learn to selflessly give your life away, Jesus is most glorified and you are most satisfied.
<> How are you giving your life away?
<> Are you growing in intimacy with Jesus through daily decision to sacrifice?
<> Where are accidentally missing out on the joy of Jesus by wasting yourself in pursuit of selfish desires?
<> How often do you run major decision through the filter of “Does this get me more Jesus?”