Scratching the Surface of Philippians
Begging comparisons to Uncle Sam(s) throughout American history, King Hezekiah was one of the few kings who remained faithful to God and experienced rewards from God here and now before hereafter.
Isaiah recounts a glorious instance of Hezekiah's fidelity yielding divine favor: "Thus says the Lord: 'Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover'...Then Hezekiah prayed, 'Please, Lord, remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight'...The Lord came to Isaiah: 'Go and say to Hezekiah,...[I, the Lord]...have heard your prayer...I will add fifteen years to your life.'"
Though Hezekiah trusted God for eternity, he wanted to live longer because he enjoyed the favors of God in time; and because of his faithfulness to God, God was faithful to him and added fifteen years to his limited time on earth before passing on to eternity.
I like how the David Crowder Band has sung about it; which you can hear by clicking on the link above.
Really, listen to it before continuing.
Yes, we know Jesus wanted the cup of existential death and suffering to pass or overlook Him in a very human kinda way because, like Hezekiah, He enjoyed the God-given graces in time.
Yes, we know Jesus didn't fear the first nano-second after the last breath in time because earthly existence is the limited preface to limitless graces in heaven where there's no pain, suffering, tears, or death anymore; which, of course, is why eternity is considered heavenly.
That's the biggest and best reward of faith in God.
Loving earthly life and living it so famously, fully, and fearlessly happens because of the confidence that God has enabled an even better life in heaven after this life on earth concludes.
Knowing God has something heavenly for His family of faith after time frees/encourages/enables us to enjoy the best of our time on earth without being chained to it as if we are limited to it.
Knowing an even better life comes after the best of this one means really enjoying it because we're not clutching anxiously to it as if it is the only one that we get from God.
That's the "secret" discovered by Paul and anyone else who gets close to Jesus: "I have learned the secret...I can do/face all things through or because of Him who strengthens me."
That's why Paul loved life but wasn't afraid of the inevitability of departing from it for something infinitely better: "I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord...This life is not worth comparing to the one to come...For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
Paul understood his call in time but had an even greater anticipation of the heavenly call awaiting everyone whose confidence is in the Lord: "I am hard pressed...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."
In other words to horrify the grammar police yet hint at the heavenly, we gotta do what we gotta do and enjoy it as best as we can before He does what's really the best for us in heaven.
That's the blessed assurance that compelled Paul and everyone else who gets it/Him to pray and try so hard to honor Him in time as thanksgiving for the world without end: "Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
That's what he meant by "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding...[that]...will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
That's what Hezekiah understood and the David Crowder Band sang about and all of the saints of all time echo: "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
That's the secret that everybody knows who knows Him.
This life, as we learn right from Genesis, is very, very, very good; and we can live it famously, fully, and fearlessly because of the blessed assurance born of confidence in our Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior Who has saved the best for next.
...to be continued...
Blessings and Love!
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