“For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” (2 Corinthians 5:4 NIV84)
In this fifth chapter of 2nd Corinthians, Paul is stressing the fact that we Christians are made up of two sides. We have a physical nature that lives, breathes and wills every day. We also have a spiritual nature that lives and wills every day. Paul wants us to understand that our current physical nature is corrupt and temporary, while our spiritual nature is pure and eternal. Given these two facts, Paul concedes that our current physical nature (as a tent) causes us to groan under the burdens, weaknesses, sinfulness and suffering of this life.
If all that is true, I have a question: Why do we Christians spend so much time trying to hone, protect and perfect the physical body? Our culture seems to be obsessed with finding the fountain of youth. We want six-pack abs and baby’s skin. We spend hours and hours a week focusing on our earthly tent. Now listen, don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with taking care of our physical bodies as long we understand that it is all a means to an end. We don’t live for this life but for the next life. These bodies we work so hard on are going to weaken and finally perish.
One more question: In comparison, how much time every week are we dedicating to the side of us that is eternal? There is a new creature living within us that can only be sustained by God’s Word, worship and prayer. Let’s re-evaluate the time we spend on the two sides of our nature. Let’s begin to balance that time in a way that God is glorified and more time is spent on the part of our being that is eternal.