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“For me to live is Christ…”—Philippians 1:21


“For me to live is…”


What would you say if someone asked you to finish that sentence with little time to think?

For me to live is…sports? Music? Family? Shopping? Work? The person I’m in love with? Fill in the blank.

But if I can say in all sincerity, “To live is Christ,” then I can follow that bold statement with what comes next: “To die is gain.”

Paul—apostle, missionary, former Pharisee, and persecutor of the church—lost a lot before he could make such a bold statement. I don’t know if I can say that I always feel like “to die is gain.” Most of us want to hang onto life and the people we love.

Paul’s life had been filled with prestige, education, and respect—until he experienced a radical conversion. That’s when his life began to unravel. He became mistrusted, persecuted, slandered, even hated. He developed a physical infirmity, which no amount of prayer healed. “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me,” Paul wrote. “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10).

Becoming a Christian made Paul capable of recognizing his weaknesses. He became more honest, vulnerable, and broken—real. He shared freely his personal struggles and brokenness. He had no need to protect his image or misrepresent himself.

He set an example of how to live at home, in the workplace, in the world. He simply let the Lord work through him as he labored to strengthen and build up people, demonstrating the love of God.

In all this, he was content, happy, and so committed that he could exclaim, “For me to live is Christ!”

He had discovered what it means to be truly alive.


“Fear not that your life shall come to an end, but rather that it shall never have a beginning.” —John Henry Newman

Pastor Ray Bentley

Love God. Love People. Pastor Ray Bentley lived by those words. His love for the Lord and the people he served was demonstrated every day through his actions, leadership, ministry, teaching, sharing, and caring.

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