God fashioned our bodies from clay, the Scriptures declare. “Dust we are and to dust we return" we will be reminded dramatically this week with a cross of ashes traced on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season.
God refers to our human body as a temporary dwelling, a temple, a tent, a building, a sanctuary, a house, and an earthen vessel. We are simply clay pots, but within us He has placed eternal souls and imparted the precious gift of the Holy Spirit to those who receive Him. In a sense, each of us lives in a pup tent, a small, temporary, perishable covering made of flesh. That fragile tent, our body, is with what we are most familiar. We have lived with it 24/7 since we were born.
Our clay bodies are not disposable, to be cast aside and disregarded after use. God created us and so loves these clay bodies that He sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins to restore our severed relationship with Him. God has continued plans for those clay pots which are eventually buried. His plan is to transform them into a wonderful new eternal form at the Resurrection—our space suits. Meanwhile, we have to deal realistically with our imperfect often hurting but serviceable earth suits which God issued to us at birth.
As our years accumulate, we experience increasing tension between these two outfits—aspects of our lives. They compete for first place in our attention. We determine the amount of time we devote in nurturing one or the other.
Many in this world know of nothing else beyond their bodies. They have not been told, or they have rejected the truth that each human being also has an immortal, undying soul that will live on eternally Elsewhere. They give little or no thought to the indisputable fact that their earth suit is terminal. Denial is useless. The earth suit body will have to be laid aside at some point in earth time.
“All that is within me” my internals, (Psalm 103:1) and all the externals that make up my body will wear out, give out, become disordered and stop working as time goes on. Of course, we should do our best to keep our antique organs in working order and do what we can to remedy anything that goes wrong. Too often we are obsessed about our health or the lack thereof and our appearance. It's hard to accept the decline of our mortal earth suits.
We sometimes feel a tap on our shoulder as a reminder of our mortality at a birthday milestone, or with the onset of an illness, or simply by the turn of a calendar page. One day we do a double-take in the mirror and are shocked to see that time and gravity is taking its toll.
Maintenance procedures may help slow the pace of the slippery slide; but not to reverse it—impossible. At best to attempt to manage the decline temporarily. So what can we do about it? The “Serenity Prayer” becomes ever more relevant as we increase in years. Some things we still can change—for awhile; increasingly, there are more things that we can no longer change but must accept. We need wisdom to know the difference so that we won't be frustrated.
It shouldn't be hard to decide on which part of my life I should concentrate. My earth suit is temporal, impermanent, of this passing earth. It will disintegrate and decay in spite of the good care I give it. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 5:1, 2)
On the contrary, my space suit (“not made with hands,” of course) is durable and indestructible, although invisible. Our priority needs to be on the care and feeding and nurture of this other most precious part of our life, the immortal space suit, that part of us which the mirror can't reflect.
God blessed human beings, distinct from the rest of his living creation, with an undying, incorruptible soul. I have a space suit in waiting, totally adaptable for wherever in space or time God has prepared our Eternal Dwelling Place.
Only God can tell each of us uniquely how to prepare their eternal soul for the new atmosphere of Heaven. More of my time should be focused on this priority as I advance in years. It is God, the Omnipresent, Omniscient, Omnipotent One who can empower my launch to thrust me into the Eternal Dimension when the time comes for my earth suit to be laid aside.
One size of space suit will fit all because its label reads “Designed Exclusively by Jesus,” the Architect and Builder of the Place which He promised He is preparing for us who trust in Him. He supplies our durable, flame-resistant outfit that will endure the lift-off and its swift trajectory toward Heaven—and will never disintegrate en route!
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