Philippians 1:21 (ESV)
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
How can Paul say this? That’s the first thought that enters my head… because I can’t imagine getting to a place where my attachment to God is so strong or so real, that I would rather be in His presence in death, than struggling here on earth. And on top of that, Paul writes this after sharing about his imprisonment, his struggle with other Christians causing trouble for him. It makes me think that his experience of God, and his trust in God must be substantial.
There is a spiritual practice or discipline that I have been attempting over the last year called “Detachment.” The idea is that you confess to God things that might be taking priority over Him, and try to build a spirit of trust that is attached to God alone. As I have worked through this, aspects of my image, my reputation, my accomplishments, and other people’s opinions of me, have surfaced as being almost idolatrous in their importance in my life. So how do we begin to allow God to redeem these things?
Jesus models detachment in a beautiful and short prayer from the Garden of Gethsemane, only minutes before he would be arrested, beaten and put to death on the cross. Praying alone to his Father in the garden Jesus says these words: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” I have heard this referred to as the ‘prayer of quiet submission’, Jesus asking God to spare him from the cross, but so detached from his own desires and will, that he says ‘not my will, but yours, be done’. Imagine if we prayed that more regularly, asking God to lead us, affirming that His ways, not ours, are what we truly desire… “For me, to live is Christ,” to live is to be so connected with God, that He is deeply involved in every decision we make, for His glory!
Lord, I want to trust you. I want to seek your will, not mine. Lord, help me to live so connected to you, that you are truly leading me. Thank you that your ways are not my ways, that your thoughts for me are so much greater than my own! Amen
By: Matt Beattie