As we go from one year to another (Again), I can't help but think about how many times I've seen "end of the world scenarios" in my lifetime. As I was growing up, the Cold War was waning but still a very real threat, global cooling and then global warming were problems, and a number of wars began and diseases broke out which threatened to derail life as we know it (Anything from SARS to swine flu), and Y2K had people in a panic. Preachers predicted for several years that the world would end within a year, and it never happened. The point? I survived a lot of ends of the world. 2020 is no different. We have seen a lot of upheaval, much of it deliberate, disease, death, destruction, and chaos. Yet, one thing I am certain of, even as COVID is peaking again, all of this is a distraction from the truth. I think some people may misunderstand these messages: it's not that I don't take COVID seriously, I do. But the Gospel doesn't stop because people might die. It's because people WILL die that I must continue to preach the Gospel, even if I die. Jesus went to the cross for the Gospel. Many of His followers also died as a result of following Him, but that did not stop them from spreading the Gospel. My life is forfeit to the glory of Christ, because, as Paul stated, if I should stay, I can teach the Gospel and bring others to Christ, but if I go, I go home to the Lord. I echo His statement: For me to live is Christ, to die is gain. I am resolved to live for Christ in everything I do, and if necessary, die for Christ. Some might say "That is good for you, but aren't you being selfish by potentially spreading the disease to someone else?" I might potentially get in a car accident, or potentially drop something, or potentially do something else that could injure someone or lead to their death, unintentionally of course. Every single day is a risk, but I can't stop death from coming by staying indoors any more than I can stop the sun from rising or setting by staying in. Death will come one way or other, and with it, so will we all meet our Maker. And so, to that end, I will continue to spread the Gospel, I will continue to live out and stand on the Word of God, I will continue to live my life to the fullest, I will not use the New Year as an excuse to start something I should have started long ago, and I will seek to do everything for the glory of Jesus Christ. This is my resolution, now and forever, and if I stumble, which I will, I will keep moving toward the goal. Will you join me? Philippians 1:12-30 I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.
Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.