Falling Apart At The Seams

I recently went to the mall to watch a film in the cinema with a friend.
As I was buying my ticket the young employee across the counter asked me my age. ’58’ I said, wondering what my age had to do with buying a ticket. The movie was rated 13+, so I knew that wasn’t the issue. Averting her eyes from mine, she replied, ‘Ok, never mind’, and resumed with the sale. Then the realization of what was happening dawned on me.
She thought I qualified for their ‘Senior’ discount!
I was mortified by the insinuation (even though she wasn’t so far off the mark) and when I asked her if I understood her correctly, she turned red and began apologized profusely. While I laughed it off, the damage was done.
I walked away with the unmistakable sense that what I had suspected for a long time was now ‘officially’ true; I’m getting old.

Calvary Chapel

I have to confess; I’m probably not aging as gracefully as I should. And what I mean by that is that I don’t have the greatest attitude about it.
With my 60th birthday creeping up on me, I am overly conscious of the changes taking place in my mind and body. Thinning hair, deepening wrinkles, multiplying liver spots. And that’s just on the outside. There’s the dimming eye-sight, the drop in mental capacity, the ebb in energy levels, the ever-increasing frequency of naps.
But the biggest, and most glaring indicator of my advancing age is that I caught myself using the terms ‘my surgeon’ recently. Yes, it’s true, I’m losing enough body parts now to justify having my very own surgeon. I am scheduled for my third medical ‘procedure’ (a fancy word for surgery) in a two-year period. I like my surgeon, he’s a great guy, but I kind of resent the fact that we see each other enough to have casual conversations. For someone who has managed to avoid doctors and hospitals most of my life, the indicators are more humbling than I prefer to acknowledge.
Ok, I’m whining. And I am conscious that some of you may be reading this and thinking, ‘what is this guy crying about?’ Compared to your health issues, mine may seem like a walk in the park. I told you I’m not aging as gracefully as I should! If you are indeed thinking that, then you know, better than I, the nagging frustration of watching and feeling your physical body progressively fail.
Almost everyone my age that I know has the shared perplexity of feeling much younger than their bodies tell them they are. There is growing sense of our ‘true’ selves, our spirit, being stuck in the physical shell of our bodies, watching helplessly from the inside as our bodies succumb to effects of aging.

If you can relate to this experience as well, you may find it fascinating to learn that the Bible talks very specifically about it. One example is below

“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have… an eternal body made for us by God himself. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing…While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.” 2 Corinthians 5:1-4

These verses teach that our physical bodies are like a tent. A tent by design is a temporary, often portable living space. It’s not made to last long. Tents have no foundation. Their frames are typically light and flimsy. Tents make a very fitting metaphor for our physical bodies.
In spite of the temporary nature of our physical bodies, the Bible also teaches the eternal nature of the spirit, our true selves. Ecclesiastes 3:11 reads, “He (God) has placed eternity in their (mankind) hearts”
It is here, between these two truths that we find the conditions created for this dilemma that we experience. We are hard-wired with an instinctual desire to live forever, but we find our physical bodies can’t keep up. As it is written in the verses above, ‘we grow weary…we groan and sigh…’.
Understandably, we wonder why God would create us in such a state of internal conflict. The answer is, He didn’t. That’s on us.
God’s original design was that man would live forever on an Edenic earth in perfect communion with Him (See Genesis chapters 1-3). In order that we could enjoy a true relationship with Him, God created man with free-will; the ability to choose for himself. God didn’t create robots, with no choice but to love Him; that’s not love. He created man with the ability to accept or reject God love. As the Biblical narrative goes, man used the freedom God had created him with to turn away from Him, including His design for them, and live for their own pleasures and purposes.
Tragically this decision introduced catastrophic consequences into the human experience; death. Romans 5:12 says, “through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men…” Man’s sin hideously marred God’s original design for life and made the conflict between body and spirit that we face today our collective experience.
While it’s important to be able to laugh at ourselves when it comes to the challenges of aging, we can’t afford to ignore the warning signs that lie behind them.
The universal frustration mankind experiences between his body and soul are evidence to the truths of the Bible. Our spirits are created eternal, but our bodies sag under the weight of God’s universal judgment of sin.

Before I consider the resulting implications of this judgment, let’s look again at the verses above. It states “…we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.”
What are the new bodies that this scripture is teaching about? They are the glorified, resurrected, deathless bodies that God promised to give those who would return to Him in faith. In other words, God never gave up on His original design for us. After we rejected God and took our own path, God put His plan for redemption into action, never abandoning His ultimate goal to restore us to fellowship with Himself
This plan of redemption is the heartbeat of the entire Bible. From Genesis to Revelation we have one long narrative, all unpacking the incredible drama of God’s plan of salvation for mankind. This is what the Bible refers to as the ‘good news’ or Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only Son of God, God in human flesh, who stepped down from heaven, lived as a perfect, sinless man, and offered up Himself as a sacrifice for our sins on the cross. Through His sacrifice, God offers salvation to all who come to Him by faith. The sin that unleashed death in our lives is completely cleansed away and we are restored to that place of perfect union with Him. In simple terms, when we are restored to our rightful relationship with Him, everything that sin stole will be redeemed and restored. Not only does that translate into love, joy and peace in this life, here and now, but it also comes with the promise of the resurrection, whereby we will finally and fully be restored to God’s original eternal design. Death will “be swallowed up life.”

Coming back to the subject of judgment, Jesus is the only Savior, the only One that can intervene and redeem us from the consequences of sin. To reject Him is to continue in our rejection of God and to give sin free course to carry on its destructive path in our lives. If we die unrepentant and in rejection of God’s offer of reconciliation, He will give us what we ask for; finally, fully and eternally separated from Him.
Turn to Christ Jesus today, call upon Him to save you. Experience the reality of ‘death being swallowed up in life.”

Romans 10:9-13 “…If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame… for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.””

By Pastor Tim Mattox,

Paphos Calvary Chapel

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