Philippians 1: 17-18 “Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.”
What gave Paul such a radical perspective about life and death? I am sure most people in his time as with ours were concerned about making a living, pursuing the good life, or gaining power and influence. Instead, the apostle willingly embraced discomfort, developed joy in suffering and counselled joyfulness as an essential Christian virtue.
The key to Paul’s endless joy is worship. He did sing songs of praise with Silas while in jail until the earth shook (Acts 16:20-26), but his idea of worship was deeper than singing. The act of worship had power only because Paul saw himself as the sacrificial offering. “The essence of worship is sacrifice” (40 day 2022, 18 July).
Picture this, in the 2nd Temple period, Paul, “the Pharisee of Pharisees” would have been familiar with the religious act of purchasing a lamb or turtledoves as burnt offerings. Having encountered the Paschal Lamb on the road to Damascus, Paul realized that deeper worship was to offer himself as the sacrifice. This was the ultimate expression of worship. He was to be the offering, a drink offering poured out (2 Timothy 4:6) for Christ and His kingdom.
What is the secret to Paul’s endless joy and constant peace? What is the secret to Paul’s razor-sharp determination to fulfil God’s kingdom objective for him? Simply put, worship was sacrifice. Let the apostle’s perspective influence our worship of Jesus. To live is Christ, to die is gain.
Ps. Loke Chi Shyan