Published by Barnabas International • PO Box 11211 • Rockford, IL 61126 • Volume XX • No. 2 • February 2006
LEE HOTCHKISS, Executive Director <> LAREAU LINDQUIST, Founder
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (II Corinthians 4:16-18)
Let's focus on one phrase from verse 16 as stated above . . . Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
Recently I talked with a friend by telephone. Chuck has had a severely debilitating disease that has cruelly robbed him of mobility. Yet he sounded good, vibrant, and alive. I mentioned that to him and he assured me that in spite of physical troubles, he was doing well.
Jimmy, a 16 year old friend in India, blind and severely twisted in deformity, was a permanent patient at Mother Theresa's Home for the Destitute in Calcutta. He was abandoned by his family. Yet his face radiated joy as he asked me if he could sing a song. He sang . . . Oh, how I love Jesus. Again, the body was incapacitated but the mind and spirit was well.
Otis, while suffering from colon cancer, would answer the telephone . . . I'm terrific, thanks, couldn't be better. In spite of the disease, the surgeries, the chemo-therapy, the real Otis that inhabited that decaying body was radiantly alive and well. And now, as he is with the Lord, he's really doing better yet.
Paul, in II Corinthians, deals with the reality of physical affliction. Please read and study these passages especially these chapters and verses: 4:7; 4:16-18; 5:1-10; 7:4-5.
Paul uses two metaphors to more fully teach the meaning of 4:16. He likens the physical body to: (1) a clay pot (4:7) and (2) a tent (5:1). Two great illustrations. Pots are fragile and breakable. Tents are vulnerable to mildew, tearing, and decay. The various translations use these words to illustrate their ultimate demise: destroyed, dismantled, and demolished. Even so our physical bodies are in the process of decay as soon as we were born.
These verses present several sets of contrasts . . .
Contrasting the outer body to the inner self.
Contrasting the earthly part of us with the heavenly home.
Contrasting the temporal body with the eternal body.
In graphic language, Paul is telling us that our physical bodies are only "temporary tents" . . . only "clay pots." The physical body only houses the real person. We are not defined by our physical body, whether beautiful or not, whether physically muscular or not, whether healthy or diseased. The real YOU . . . the real ME is the inner person that lives in the body. We will not always have these bodies. In fact we won't always need these bodies. Often at a graveside I have reminded the family that we are not burying the loved one, we are only burying their outer shell. The loved one has gone to be with the Lord. He will receive a new body when Jesus comes again.
Listen to the good news of this text one more time. Even though the outer body is deteriorating, the real YOU that inhabits that body can be radiantly alive, unbelievably joyous (7:4), and you can be renewed day by day (4:16).
I pray that this truth will be real to you today . . . that it will be practiced in you today.