08 Mar Allowing Roots to Grow
I’m the master of starting something new. Whether work or play, I so often find myself caught up in the challenge of figuring something out. I research, reading everything I can get my hands on—for about two weeks. Without fail, the topic or skill begins to feel stale, and my attention and energy is pulled in a new direction.
It would be easy to allow my entire life to continue this way, always energized by some new project or adventure, never truly anchoring myself or allowing roots to grow. Paul’s bold statement at the end of Philippians 1 makes it seem as if Paul is living in this same state of chasing after the adventure: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21, ESV).
The audacity of a statement like this can only come from two types of people. The one who is so green that they don’t actually know what they’re saying (and who will say the same thing about something else in a short amount of time). Or the person who truly knows the weight of their words: they have made the sacrifices, they have already given their all, they have committed themselves to long obedience in the same direction.
“He is not flippantly passionate about Jesus. Christ, for him, is not the next new thing.”
A quick survey of Paul’s life makes it clear that he falls into this second category. He is not flippantly passionate about Jesus. Christ, for him, is not the next new thing. Instead, he is committed to His work even to the point of death. The ultimate pursuit of his life is “ … for Christ to be honored in [his] body … ” (1:20) As he sat in a Roman prison cell, only two paths were before him; he would either pour out his life for Christ’s glory through his death, or he would pour out his life for Christ’s glory through continuing his life of sacrifice.
It’s for this reason that Paul’s writing is so full of hope. He wins no matter the outcome of his present circumstance. The cause of Christ is so big and so all-consuming that everything falls away. The work God is doing in eternity past, eternity present, and eternity future is enough to bear the full weight of our hope and of our lives. There is nothing else we can fully lean into.
“The work God is doing in eternity past, eternity present, and eternity future is enough to bear the full weight of our hope and of our lives.”
I’ll confess—I’m not often struggling between the choice to live or die for Christ. I’m easily distracted by the temporary things of this life. The daily frustrations, joys, and to-do’s are more than enough to divert my energy away from what really matters. More often than not, it’s seasons of disappointment or loss that redirect my attention and my passions. It’s when things can’t quite add up on my finite, human scale of right and wrong that I remember what we’re doing here, that it’s not actually about us or me at all.
I pray that I can become so rooted in Christ that Paul’s statement can truthfully flow from my mouth. I want to join Paul, and so many others, in a neck-craning, eager expectation of Christ’s glory in my life. I’m praying that I will ever find my heart torn between only two desires: to live or to die for Christ Jesus.
Megan is spending her 20’s doing as much travel as her job at Grace Church will allow. She is incapable of letting a day go by without a physical challenge, is terrified of being stuck in an airport without a good book, and holds a particular bitterness towards hikes that don’t lead to waterfalls. Megan attends our Downtown campus.