So, today, I have to go to a doctor's appointment, which gives me a tiny sense of dread. It's just a small kernel, lingering back there in my subconscious. I'd rather go get a doughnut or a facial, ok? But, there it is....doctor's appointment.
Most of us people spend an inordinate amount of time caring for (attending to) our bodies. (Even if we overindulge them, that is a form of "attention" or "care".) It is sort of built into us by our Creator God to want to stay alive in this crazy world for as long as possible...for some reason. Sociologists call that "the survival instinct", I guess.
Our text today is Philippians 3:20-21 (NET) - -
20 But our citizenship is in heaven – and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform these humble bodies of ours into the likeness of his glorious body by means of that power by which he is able to subject all things to himself.
These days when I look into the mirror I see the likeness of somewhat of a stranger. When you get to be about 21 or so, you feel like you actually look like "yourself", fully "grown". And then, from that point on, you start to look stranger and stranger, even while feeling like the same "girl" or "boy" you used to be, in some respects. Believe me, young readers, it's weird. So, we devote an inordinate amount of time grooming this perishable body, this body which will one day lie on a morgue's or mortician's table, cold and dead.
Another large portion of our day is devoted to training our minds (souls)....with "mindless" (pardon the pun) entertainment, or school work, or job training, or conversation with others, etc. Training the mind toward godliness is a more noble pursuit, because mind (soul) and spirit are so intertwined. "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus...." (Philippians 2:5)
And, consequently, because there are only 24 hours in the day, we neglect the deepest, most true part of ourselves, the part which will live forever...somewhere: the spirit. These days, I am in the phase of caring for my body and soul so that I can continue to nurture my spirit, by submitting it more and more to Jesus Christ. Despite the challenges of my body aging, this is a very good phase of life in which to be. In the time I have remaining, I want to use my resources (body and soul) to grow closer to Him and to advance His kingdom here on earth. As Paul proclaimed in Acts 20:24 - - -
But I do not consider my life worth anything to myself, so that I may finish my task and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God's grace.
The thing about these two verses (Philippians 3:20-21) I love the most is not the part about our bodies being raised from the dead and transformed some day. When I die, my soul and spirit will go immediately to be with my Lord and Savior (Ecclesiastes 12:7; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23). My body is "immaterial" (Lord, I am just full of puns this morning...); in other words, it will remain "sleeping", decaying in the grave or wherever my descendants put it. I will slough off this flesh and will never return to it in its earthly form. My soul and spirit will one day (maybe hundreds of years from now or maybe next week) be reunited with a likeness of my earthly body; but, more importantly, on that great day, my new body will be in the likeness of Jesus' "glorified" body. He will then unite my soul and spirit with my "glorified, heavenly" body. No one knows when Jesus will return to earth to do this; only Father God knows that day and hour. But, on that day, my reunited (NEW! body)-soul-spirit will be my possession for all eternity here in the "new heaven and new earth", described in Revelation 21-22.1
Here's the best part of Philippians 3:21. Paul declares Jesus' "Godness": that Jesus is definitely God, one of the co-equal parts of the Holy Trinity. Paul declares Him Savior, yes, but also calls Him "Kyrion" (Greek for "Lord"). Jesus used this same word to refer to God the Father, in the gospel accounts. It will be God Jesus Himself who raises the bodies of His Bride from the dead on "that glorious day" (see song link below). As He raises them - - - from cremation urn, from ocean floor, from moldering casket, from the dust of the earth - - - He will transform them with the same power He used to create the world, the same power Father God used to raise His Son from the dead and transform His earthly body into its glorifed, heavenly form.
Paul makes allusion to Jesus as Creator in Colossians 1:15-20, which we will study in a couple of weeks. John referred to Jesus as "the Logos", the Word, in the beginning of his gospel. It is indisputable that Jesus Christ is God, and that through Him all things were created, all things "consist", that is, "are held together". He's "got the whole world in His hands", literally. (Gives you a new twist on that little children's song, doesn't it? Now you know it points to Colossians 1 and John 1 and Philippians 3! :) )
Good morning, Lord Jesus! Thank you for another day in which to "live and move and have my being" - - - in You. (Acts 17:28) What incomprehensible power! That will be a glorious day, but not nearly so glorious as that day in which my spirit unites with You fully, for the first time, in Heaven. I can only begin to imagine... May I worship You today, in Spirit and in truth. In Jesus' name, amen.