by Jacob Hudgins
“As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death”(Phil 1:20).
Did you notice “as always”? Paul hopes that “as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death”. Nothing had changed for Paul because he was in a tough spot under house arrest. He still honored Christ every day in everything he did and said. As always.
“As always” reveals a constant commitment to serving Jesus. It encapsulates countless mornings when Paul woke sore and stiff from his sufferings. It includes daily decisions to turn away from vices and temptations. It extends to his use of his mouth to preach and never to insult or slander or curse. It involves late nights when Paul thought about what he was doing with his life and whether it was all worth it. It means the methodical work of self-discipline to ensure he was practicing what he preached. Hundreds of days in the everyday grind of spiritual living are summed up in two words: “as always”.
There has never been an era in which living as a Christian was easy. The comfort we gain from Paul is that his circumstances didn’t change his service to Jesus. Paul’s body and life belonged to the Lord, whether he was in Rome or Philippi or Jerusalem. Can we say the same?
“As always” is a claim we cannot make until we have lived it. It does not imply perfection, but a pattern of living that no outside force can affect. Are we living today so that when our days expire we can say that we are going to spend the day with the Lord—as always?