21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1).
Some might think Paul is showing pride here in relating such a lofty idea: “Hey everyone, look at this grandiose attitude I have attained to!” Yet, I believe just the opposite is the case. Actually, this phrase,“For to me,” demonstrates the real humility of Paul. For it shows how he does not impose his standard on everyone else. He doesn’t say, “Listen, everyone. If you really want to be a good Christian, then you must absolutely have this attitude — “to live is Christ” — and if you don’t have it, well then, I’m afraid you just don’t measure up.” No, he simply said, “For to me. “This is what I think. This is just my own personal opinion. You decide for yourself.”
I’m reminded of the personal experience he wrote of in 2 Corinthians 12:2 of being“caught up in the third heaven” — and yet, if you look closely, he never even intimated that every sincere Christian should absolutely seek to attain such an experience. This is the humility of Paul: he made neither personal experiences, nor personal aspirations global standards for others in the faith.
Lord, help us This Day to show such humility — to impose neither personal experiences nor personal aspirations — no matter how lofty they may be (and the loftier, the better!) — on others. Amen.