“But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and bewith Christ,for that is very much better…,”-{Phil 1:23}

Paul had a deep deep desire, a longing to “be with Christ.” Paul said, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” -{Philippians 1:21}. Life not only was Christ to Paul, but dying was not his enemy but “gain!” The word was used to speak of “winning something.” Death was a “WIN” for Paul as it meant he would “BE WITH CHRIST!” If Christ is not life then death will not be gain! But Christ was Paul’s life and he looked on death as gain, the fulfillment of his strong desire of being “with Christ,” which he saw was “very much better.”
What is better than life with Christ here? To “Be With Christ!” is “far better,” to be in His presence and see Him and “be with Christ,” forever! To go from walking by faith to seeing Him and being with Him!

What is death for the follower of the LORD Jesus Christ?

Some would say they die and go to Heaven. The Scripture teaches this is so, but death for the follower of the LORD Jesus Christ is NOT primarily about a PLACE, but a PERSON! To “be With CHRIST!” Isn’t it interesting when Paul spoke about dying he did not mention getting to see people, though we will, but heaven is seeing and being “With Christ!” His “Desire…” was Christ, being with Christ!

  1. The word “DEPART” was used of an army “to break up camp,” by pulling up the tent-pegs of a tent so they could begin their march, moving to a different location. Death is pulling up the pegs of the tent, our body is taken down as it were, and our spirit goes to be with the LORD! And we “depart” from one location, this earth, and change our location, Heaven, to be “be with Christ!
  2. The word was also used for a ship that was tied to a dock with ropes or anchored. When the ropes were untied, “loosed, unloosed,” or the anchor pulled up the ship was free to set sail and fulfill its purpose. So when death comes it releases us to set sail to eternity to “be with Christ!”
  3. It was also a political term to set a prisoner free who was chained! Death will set us free from the weakness, and limitations of these bodies to have a new body and “be with Christ!”
  4. The word was also used of farmers who unyoked, removed, and unloaded a heavy burden from an animal when their work was done. Don’t you love this,…when God has determined our work is done, our service for and with Him is over, we are unyoked, our burdens, works, labors are laid down as it were, and free, unburdened to go “be with Christ!”
Paul’s “Desire” was to “Depart” and “be with Christ” and he was caught in between that “desire” and his desire to remain and be a help to others! What a beautiful picture of his heart from a difficult place where he was imprisoned, “shut in” but his heart’s desire was to “be with Christ!” His devotion, appreciation, destination was a Person, to “be with Christ!” In the midst of troubles, he had set his mind on things above where Christ is seated-{Read Colossians 3:1-2}.

Death is a release for the follower of the LORD Jesus Christ to go to Heaven. But Heaven is not the attraction or the goal or Paul’s desire but to “BE WITH CHRIST.” He is the “Desire,” He is the Goal. He is our Destination! Think on HIM… You are heading Home to “BE WITH CHRIST!”

Have you ever been at an airport, walking through, heading toward the gate for your flight, and over the loudspeaker comes an announcement regarding your flight? The announcement includes the time, gate of DEPARTURE, and the DESTINATION of where the plane is flying to. And you keep walking towards that gate, ready to Depart. The Bible teaches us that we all will DEPART- Die, and head to one of two DESTINATIONS- Heaven or Hell. For the follower of Christ we know we will DEPART this world and our DESTINATION? To “… BE WITH CHRIST!” Keep walking daily by faith in dependence upon Christ, for the time will come when you will “depart” and “be With Christ!”
Paul had this “DESIRE,”-{ epithumia,}. The word is often used for a strong sinful lust, but here it is used for strong unfulfilled desire for something that is right and good. And in this case, Paul’s longing, deep deep desire, passion, longing to depart and “BE WITH CHRIST!”
What makes death for the Christian “…Much Better?” because they get to “BE WITH CHRIST!” Rest your mind and soul on this glorious truth,, one day YOU will be With Christ!”
God bless