I was reading in Phillippians..more specifically, chapter 1 verse 21. Let me just show you what happened.

Paul writes:
"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

I skimmed over this..and kept reading, but quickly went back. I've read this little verse a million times. But for some reason I reread it over and over again. You could say, man that's a pretty cool verse..Christ is life, and death means heaven for eternity..and then move on. But put it into context...

Paul is chillin' "in chains" because of the whole false accusation situation after he cast a demon out of this girl. So check it out, he's spreading the gospel, traveling around, casting out DEMONS..(no big deal). So now he's in big trouble. He's awaiting trial.. [pause] Let's take a minute to talk about Roman imprisonment. typically you are stripped naked, whipped with a rod or whip, then left bleeding in rusty chains. K, so Paul dealt with this physical abuse back when Acts was written, and now he may be on house arrest (but still imprisoned) and writing to Phillipi. At this point, Paul doesn't know what exactly is going to happen to him. And this is what gets me....

Lets say, I go outside today, and somehow, somewhere..I'm talking about Jesus, and someone who gets offended straight up shoots me. Doesn't kill me..but wounds me. This is highly unlikely, but hypothetically, once i'm "healed" how likely is it that i'm going to openly talk about Jesus anywhere I go...and if I do talk about him, will it be out of joy? Or would I feel "obligated" as a Christian? Get where I'm going with this?

As a prisoner under Roman rule, Paul could be beaten to death at any moment. But he's sitting here writing, quite literally, For living to me means simply "Christ", and if I die I should merely gain more of him. If you keep reading in Phillippians after that, it says that he is literally "torn" between wanting to live and wanting to die to be with Christ. [Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far, but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.] I can't help but think that if I were in Paul's situation i'd be thinking look, God..i'm happy to do your work..but please take me to meet you, I have suffered enough.

Paul is torn between living as a prisoner and dying to be with Jesus. He's saying that by dying he will be gaining MORE of Christ..which implies that by living (imprisoned) he's still experiencing a whole heck of a lot of Christ (and joy for that matter) to even be able to compare his current life with heaven and eternity.

This is freakin' awesome.
I want to be able to say that my life=Christ (even if beaten, harrassed, and abused)...and to die=heck, even better. How many Christians feel this way!?!? Not many....not me. This is my new prayer...I want life to equal Christ and nothing else.