"Therefore, we do not lost heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day."
So . . . there is absolutely no doubt that my outer body is decaying! I'm about to turn 53 - ancient to some, but a baby to others. I'm not complaining. I'm in good health with minimal aches and pains, but there is no denying that the aging process carries on. The good news is that my spirit grows stronger with each passing day.
"For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
This passage encourages me to look beyond the troubles of this world, both big and small, and realize that if my sufferings and afflictions were put on one side of a scale and the weight of eternal glory on the other -- there would be no contest.
My afflictions on the left - the eternal weight of glory on the right!
Things eternal trump things temporary every time.
In 5:1 - our bodies are described as our earthly tent. Paul was a tent maker - so he chooses this imagery intentionally. I like to imagine Paul in the midst of working on a tent when the Lord tells him -- this is a picture of your earthly life! Tents are temporary. Camping can be fun, but who doesn't begin to long for a hot shower and a comfy bed eventually? This tent of our body is wearing out, but the good news is that we have a building from God -- a house not made with hands -- eternal in the heavens.
When you are suffering, experiencing discouragement and difficulties, troubled, or simply exhausted -- keep your eyes on the eternal. When illness or age is depleting your body, remember that your spirit is being renewed day by day. I have had the privilege of being with some dear friends when they were nearing their death and I can testify that as their bodies wore out, their spirits were so strong. It was as if they could just glimpse their heavenly home and they were preparing to take down those tent pegs.
This camp out will come to an end. This tent will be replaced by a room in a mansion built specifically for you with a feast to boot.
Life is just plain hard, sometimes. Jesus knew it would be because He has been here. He knew that we would need this encouragement to keep our eyes on Him.
I was reminded in a sermon yesterday on Revelation 21 and 22 that all things will be made new. All this temporary will be replaced by something more wonderful than our finite minds can even comprehend.
Let's make the most out of this camping adventure while always keeping in mind that heavenly hot shower and comfy bed. S'mores, anyone?