19 for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.
Every time I read this passage I’m amazed. Paul’s attitude about life is so clearly seen here. I believe he is reminding them that whatever is the absolute best for the Kingdom of God – whatever is best concerning God’s will for him – is exactly what he wanted – whether it meant life or death. By reminding them of his attitude toward life and death, he encouraged their joy and courage in living for Christ. Paul wasn’t afraid to live or die; both were positives for him because of his relationship with Christ. If he died, he would be with Christ. If he lived, he got to go on serving Christ. It doesn’t get any better than that! That kind of security and joy only comes with a personal and growing relationship with Christ.