It is not the glory of the place — it is the beauty of the person!
(Archibald Brown, "With Christ!")
"My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better!" Philippians 1:23
Paul does not say, "I have a desire to depart, and to be in Heaven." Oh no! It is far better than that.
Nor is it, "I have a desire to depart and to be free of troubles."
No, it is, "My desire is to depart and be with Christ!"
"With Christ! With Christ!" This honey in the mouth, and the more often you turn it over, the sweeter it becomes!
Heaven is not merely a place of golden streets, and pinnacles glittering with the jewels. No! That is not enough for the believer. It is, "With Christ!" All the pearly gates, and all the seraphic praises — fail to make the Heaven of our desire. Our Heaven is to "be with Christ!" It is not the glory of the place — it is the beauty of the person!
"With Christ!" Oh, how shall I illustrate it? It is the magnet that makes the soul tremble, and will not let it rest until it points true towards it.
"With Christ!" Yes, that is the distant haven on which the mariner gazes as the ship rocks and reels, as the timbers creak, and as the storm blast whistles through the rigging.
"With Christ!" These words are the trumpet note that awakens all the heroism in a Christian's soul, and makes him willing to dash into the thickest part of the fray. He says, "I can fight my way through ten thousand foes, for on the other side it is with Christ!"