Primary Desire versus Present Duty

Primary Desire versus Present Duty
Fairly early in his letter to the Philippians, Paul very honestly shares an internal conflict he is experiencing:
  • Philippians 1:23-24 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.
Paul is caught between his longing to be with Christ in Heaven and his responsibility to minister to others on Earth. Which one truly honors God? Is a balance between the two possible?
Primary Desire
Being indwelled with the Holy Spirit of God, Christians should experience a very strong yearning to be in Heaven.
  • Romans 8:23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
Why? Because of what God has promised us:
  • An Incorruptible Body that will Last Forever
    • 1 Peter 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, (see also Philippians 3:20-21
  • To be in the Presence of God
    • Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. (see also Revelation 21:22-23)
  • To Experience No More Suffering
    • Revelation 21:4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
  • The Beautiful Surroundings of Heaven
    • 1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (see also Revelation 21:9-21)
Present Duty
Being indwelled with the Holy Spirit of God, Christians should experience a very strong sense of responsibility to serve all of mankind.
  • Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Why? Because of what God has commissioned us to do:
  • To Share the Gospel Message of Salvation through Jesus Christ
    • Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
  • To Share the Love of Christ through Good Works
    • Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
  • To Share in the Battle with Christ against Satan and his Demonic Armies
    • Ephesians 6:11-12 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
What high callings! For a mature Christian to deny the desire to be with God is driven by either dishonesty or a lack of appreciation for what God has promised His children. For a mature Christian to refuse the responsibility of serving others is driven by either selfishness of a lack of appreciation for what God has done for us.
The balance between our Primary Desire and Present Duty is found by:
  • Longing for His Coming
    • Revelations 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
  • Living for His Glory
    • Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Heavenly Father, You have promised us so much in Heaven and called us to so much on Earth. In Your perfect plan, Your Holy Spirit gives us both a strong desire to exit this fallen world to be with you and an unselfish sense of responsibility to live a long life of serving others for the glory of Jesus Christ. In Your love, grace and mercy, may all Your Children find the perfect balance between these high callings. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.