Saturday, February 23, 2013

A new tent

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Philippians 3:1-21

TO CHEW ON: "For our citizenship is in heaven from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be transformed to the glorious body according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself." Philippians 3:20-21

Have you ever thought about how much your reaction to life is based on how you feel physically? I know I don't function well when I'm tired, hungry, dizzy, itchy, have a headache, feel nauseated, am in pain, etc. And with advancing age, aches and pains are becoming the rule rather than the exception.

Though I suppose it's not much of a surprise when our bodies let us down as we get older, the truth is that they can do that at any age. In order for us to reach our expected threescore and ten, our bodies have to dodge a lot of bullets.

All that makes it good news that this physical-body-bound life isn't the final chapter. It's especially good news because we will face the next chapter in glorified bodies. The Bible doesn't give us a lot of information about these new "tents." But what it does say turns our eyes upward in anticipation, especially because this newness seems to involve more than just glorified blood and bone, but a spiritual freedom no longer hindered by malfunctioning cells.

What we can look forward to:

  • Appearing with Jesus: " also will appear with Him in glory" (Colossians 3:4).
  • Being identified (as in tattooed or branded) with God the Father (Revelation 14:1).
  • Bearing a recognizable resemblance to Jesus: "...bear the image of the heavenly Man" (1 Corinthians 15:49).

Until that time, we join others across the ages in longing for this new glorified home:
"We know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we'll never have to relocate our "tents" again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what's coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we're tired of it! We've been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what's ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we'll never settle for less" 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 - Message.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the promise of a new glorified body. Help me to trust You and to stay true to You through every physical challenge of this life. Amen.

MORE: Incredible hope

As someone who has been relatively healthy, I can't speak with the authority about physical suffering or the longing for a new body of, say, a Joni Eareckson Tada. She suffered a spinal cord injury in her teens and has spent her life as a quadriplegic. If you are bent, bruised and broken physically, or mentally find hope in these words of your fellow-traveler:

"I still can hardly believe it. I, with shrivelled, bent fingers, atrophied muscles, gnarled knees, and no feeling from the shoulders down, will one day have a new body, light, bright and clothed in righteousness — powerful and dazzling.

Can you imagine the hope this gives someone spinal cord-injured like me? Or someone who is cerebral palsied, brain-injured, or who has multiple sclerosis? Imagine the hope this gives someone who is manic depressive. No other religion, no other philosophy promises new bodies, hearts, and minds. Only in the Gospel of Christ do hurting people find such incredible hope" Joni Erickson Tada, in Heaven: Your Real Home, p. 53.

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