Note from Jesus
Paul’s words in your verses today are as beautiful as they are powerful. They can help you deal with an inescapable reality of your existence: your body is mortal. Your body is in the process of decay. While you can strengthen it, fortify it, exercise it, and tighten parts of it, you cannot save it. Ultimately you will fail at your most basic human task — keeping your body alive. However, that task is not your most important purpose and not your ultimate problem. Since the rebellion in the garden (Genesis 3:1-24), death has stalked every single human who has walked the earth (Romans 5:12-14) — even Me when I walked among you as one of you (John 19:29-34).
You must have a purpose more important than keeping your body alive or your purpose in life will end in failure. Paul’s resolve to live for My higher purpose for him makes these verses very important for you to understand and to make the foundation for your life. He speaks the truth very clearly when he describes your human purpose:
Ultimately it does not matter whether we are here or gone [to be with Christ Jesus]; our purpose stays fixed, and that is to please Him [Jesus].
You have no reason for despair about your mortal body or your eternal future. Death cannot ultimately claim anyone who has entrusted her or his future into My hands. Even though moaning, groaning, and aching are natural for your decaying mortal body, you do not need to moan, groan, or ache because of the fear of death. In fact, as Paul said for himself, those who have entrusted their lives to Me may moan, groan, and ache with a yearning to set aside the mortal body and be clothed with the heavenly one:
Currently, in this tent of a house, we continue to groan and ache with a deep desire to be sheltered in our permanent home because then we will be truly clothed and comfortable, protected by a covering for our current nakedness.
Paul taught the Corinthians in another letter that they would receive their glorious resurrection bodies when I returned in glory (1 Corinthians 15:35-58). He told them that their new immortal bodies would be glorious like My resurrected body. He told them that their physical bodies were like seeds, and their immortal bodies would be like the flowers on the full grown plant that emerged from the seed. Once again, Paul was thinking of the following contrasting terms — mortal vs. immortal, seen vs. unseen, weakness vs. strength, naked vs. clothed, fleeting and fading away vs. eternal, earthly vs. heavenly, and a temporary tent vs. a permanent dwelling. Just as you have shared in a mortal body like the first human, you will certainly share in the heavenly body like Mine (1 Corinthians 15:49).
In the verses today, Paul elaborates and helps the believers in Corinth understand a new truth: when they die, as My disciples they come to be with Me:
[I]n the end we prefer to be gone from this body so that we can be at home with the Lord.
Paul will elaborate a little more on this subject when he writes the Philippians from prison and is facing his own death (Philippians 1:19-23). For the Corinthians, this new information was enough to remind them of their purpose — to live to honor Me — and their future — to be clothed in their heavenly dwelling and be with Me and share in eternal glory. This conviction allowed them to live for Me by faith with “daring passion.”
Like the Corinthian believers, you have to walk this path by faith without fully seeing the fulfillment of your hopes during your mortal existence. However, every time you sense a stirring of the Holy Spirit enlightening you as you read the inspired Scriptures, every time you rely on the Spirit’s intercession as you pray, every time you sense the comforting and reassuring presence of the Spirit in times of sorrow, and every time you find yourself strengthened by the Spirit in the face of temptation or trial, you can be assured of this: Just as surely as the Spirit is within you and works for you, you can also be sure that the Spirit is your guarantee that all of Paul’s promises about your glorious future with Me are true! (Ephesians 1:13-14)
Verses to Live
Please read these verses several times and let the promises found here settle into your soul and permeate your being. Use them to speak to your heart in times of grief and share them with those who need a comforting reminder about their future with Me, a future that transcends physical decay and death. Our future together will be glorious! Let Paul’s words reassure you of this truth!
So we have no reason to despair. Despite the fact that our outer humanity is falling apart and decaying, our inner humanity is breathing in new life every day. You see, the short-lived pains of this life are creating for us an eternal glory that does not compare to anything we know here. So we do not set our sights on the things we can see with our eyes. All of that is fleeting; it will eventually fade away. Instead, we focus on the things we cannot see, which live on and on.
We know that if our earthly house — a mere tent that can easily be taken down — is destroyed, we will then live in an eternal home in the heavens, a building crafted by divine — not human — hands. Currently, in this tent of a house, we continue to groan and ache with a deep desire to be sheltered in our permanent home because then we will be truly clothed and comfortable, protected by a covering for our current nakedness. The fact is that in this tent we anxiously moan, fearing the naked truth of our reality. What we crave above all is to be clothed so that what is temporary and mortal can be wrapped completely in life. The One Who has worked and tailored us for this is God Himself, Who has gifted His Spirit to us as a pledge toward our permanent home.
In light of this, we live with a daring passion and know that our time spent in this body is also time we are not present with the Lord. The path we walk is charted by faith, not by what we see with our eyes. There is no doubt that we live with a daring passion, but in the end we prefer to be gone from this body so that we can be at home with the Lord. Ultimately it does not matter whether we are here or gone; our purpose stays fixed, and that is to please Him. In time we will all stand in judgment before the throne of the Anointed [Christ Jesus], the Liberating King, to receive what is just for our conduct (whether it be good or bad) while we lived in this temporary body.
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10)
Response in Prayer
O Father, fill my heart with joy and the knowledge that my future is secure with You because of Jesus. Deepen my assurance of my future with you through the presence of the blessed Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, I ask this as well as thank You and praise You. Amen.
‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.