Zen (Not the Buddhist sect but a form of the Greek word meaning to live OR living, the verb form of the noun Zoe, “life”), Christos (Christ). I think the HCSB does pretty well with its translation of Philippians 1:21 – “For me, living is Christ and dying is gain.” Such simple words–both in English and in Greek–yet such profound truth! What happens when we begin to equate the very act of living with being Christ (“to live is Christ”)? What does it mean to equate our lives with Christ Himself?
By the same token, if living is Christ, how can dying be to our gain? Philippians 1:23 says that to die means getting to be with Christ. 3:7-10 ties gaining Christ to our eventual resurrection. 3:7 makes it clear that the gaining of Christ in the life to come means the loss of all things in the life of the present. This harkens back to the questions that Jesus had posed in Matthew 16:26, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and yet forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Paul gave his response to Jesus’ words in Galatians 2:20, saying that he had been crucified with Christ so that he no longer lived whatsoever, but only Christ continued to live inside of him. While Paul asserted that dying and getting to be with Christ is “better by far” than living on in the constant entanglements of this life, he he stated positively that he would continue on in this life nonetheless, and he would do so in this manner: His living would consist of Christ’s living in him and his living through Christ.
It is blatantly obvious that a regime change in one’s life leads to change in the way one lives. If I am no longer in charge of where I go, what I say, how I act, and who I am, then I should expect real change in these areas. For me to go on living as I have always lived in past life equates to my personal denial of the reality of the indwelling Christ. God, may this never be true of me. Help me to fuse my identity with the reality of Christ living in me.