June 16, 2009

Crossroads: Duty and Desire

There is often a feeling in our everyday life that doing one's duty is often at odds with fulfilling one's desire. In my study of Philippians, this thought comes to mind when I read the following verses:
21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. 25Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.

Philippians 1:21-26 (NASB)

There is a lot packed into this passage, and I ask the forgiveness of the exegetes out there if I concentrate on my very narrow thought path today. Is there a conflict between duty and desire? Not if you are walking in the will of God.

Paul struggles here with wanting to spread the Gospel to the glory of God and wanting to be with Jesus. Both are good, but which is better; which glorifies God the most? Paul becomes convinced that his present path is the right one; and that can only be as a result of seeking God's will for his life. Paul made his duty to God his desire for life. Whether he lived or died was no longer the relevant issue; whether he served God to his fullest, seek God's glory was.

Is that how we live our lives? yesterday I posted on the fact we are not our own. The passage here seems to indicate that Paul makes that point here.

If duty and desire are pulling you in opposing directions, you are not on the right spot on the map.

Where are duty and desire intersecting at a crossroads? Only at the will of God.