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But if I am to live on in the flesh, this means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. (Philippians 1:22)
Paul understood that it was up to God’s will and that if he continued to live in Christ, it would be to bear fruit for Christ. As long as he was alive, he was called to spread the gospel, to see fruit brought forth for God’s honor and glory. We do not know what the future holds for us in this time and space, but we know who holds the future and can trust Him with the decisions of our being.
But if I am to live on in the flesh. In other words, if Paul was to continue to live, if he is not found guilty and martyred at his upcoming trial.
This means fruitful labor for me. This seems to mean that Paul felt that it would be fruitful for him to die, and he was completely willing to do so. He likely felt that if he continued living, this would result in more sweat and toil, persecution, in constant weariness. It was also natural to live life, and how he desired to be there for the others that dearly needed him, he still did not know which he really preferred. On the one hand, he would finally be at rest, but on the other, a continued life of severe suffering filled with anxiety, with the hope that he might be able to help those in need. Yet, there was also the passionate longing to be with Christ. He did not know which was preferable.
I do not know which to choose. Lightfoot says, “He is tossed to and fro between the desire to labour for Christ in life, and the desire to be united with Christ by death. The abrupt and disjointed sentences express this hesitation.” Paul does not know which he should prefer if he was the one making a choice. Either way, there were significant concerns, but the questions were which were the bigger concerns. Imagine being in this state of publicly expressing what we would prefer, to live or to die. It should be kept in mind that Paul was not choosing his destination. It was his choice to express merely what he preferred and why, not that if he selected death, God would work that out for him, or if he chose to live, God would work that out for him. First, it is God’s will and purposes, not Paul’s will and purposes. Second unforeseen occurrences befall us all.
 Joseph Barber Lightfoot, ed., Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians, Classic Commentaries on the Greek New Testament (London: Macmillan and Co., ltd, 1913), 92.