Have you noticed that we are getting older everyday? Most of us can’t help but notice that what we used to do is getting harder to do, we are carrying more weight and struggle to get rid of it, and when we look in the mirror there are more lines and grey than there used to be! Growing older is a part of life.
When many see these things happening to them they start to despair. What is happening to me? Or maybe – how can this happen to me?! Usually the despair is because we are seeing only what is happening to our physical bodies as we are faced more each day with our earthly mortality.
But there is more to life than our physical body and what we are able and not able to do. The secret to facing growing older is in what we see as being important to us. The apostle Paul expressed it this way.
“Therefore we do not despair, but even if our physical body is wearing away, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary, light suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison because we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NET).
If we are in Christ, if we have made our life in him as we “walk in the light as he himself is in the light” (1 John 1:7 ESV), then we should be looking at life differently from those around us. Most people only look at what they can see – the physical, what is here now. But there is so much more to life than what is wearing out around us. These things are only temporary – they will pass away because they are not designed to last forever. Our bodies are not designed to last forever! As we get older we see (and feel) the truth of this each day.
We have an “inner person” – the spiritual side of us – that will live forever. Although our physical body may get older each day our spiritual self can be renewed every day. We renew this side of us by spending time on those things which are eternal and help prepare us for eternity: reading and studying God’s word and talking to him in prayer. If our focus is on preparing for eternity, there is no reason to despair because we will be growing stronger everyday spiritually.
We may have suffering that we have to go through in this life, the aches and pains that we face as we grow older, or possibly even more severe problems such as cancer, heart disease, or dementia. Yet put into the perspective of eternity, these are “light suffering” because what we look forward to, our “eternal weight of glory” is “far beyond all comparison.” If this is our perspective in life, why should we worry about those things that happen to us here which are only short-term?
The problem too often is we forget about those things which we can’t see and touch. So we become absorbed in what happens to us physically. We need to look at what we can’t see, those things that are spiritual and eternal, rather than worrying about what we can see, those things that are physical.
Because “we know that the one who raised up Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus and will bring us with you into his presence” (2 Corinthians 4:14), “we do not despair” (2 Corinthians 4:16). There is no reason to despair! Concentrate on the eternal. We can be renewed every day as we spend time with God.
Readings for next week:
25 September – 2 Corinthians 1
26 September – 2 Corinthians 2-3
27 September – 2 Corinthians 4-5
28 September – 2 Corinthians 6-7
29 September – 2 Corinthians 8-9