Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Lily Of The Valley"1 (Lyrics)
2 Corinthians 4:16 – So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. (ESV)
One thing that is obvious to me and others is that, as I age, both my body and mind (which Paul describes as my "outer self") are deteriorating.
Some years ago, my son hosted a party to celebrate my 80th birthday. One of the guests, a little older than me, said that he had a gift for me. With keen interest, I inquired what it was. He responded, "Welcome to the Club. Now when you forget something, you no longer have to apologize." I continue to enjoy that "gift" more and more.
We start life as young babies, gradually growing and increasing in strength until we eventually start to deteriorate. Most people spend a lot of time and even money trying to improve their looks and to keep in shape. Some are more successful than others in preventing that inevitable decline.
Arguably, a more important part of us is our mind. We can't see that marvellous organ called our brain, but it controls all of our actions in one way or another. Our brain develops as we age and can be trained to change and control our interactions.
Some years ago, I was privileged to work with a brilliant educational neuropsychologist. She had developed a software program that trained areas of the brain to change reactions to sights and sounds. This was hugely helpful, especially to dyslexics. When I expressed admiration of her brilliance, her response was, "We hardly know anything about the brain."
However, even if our mind is active and in good shape longer than our body, it does deteriorate as we age and will eventually stop performing.
Our body may be remembered by a few. Our mind may help us to document current thoughts that can be helpful to others after we are gone. But in reality, what Paul calls our "inner self", or our spirit, is the most important dimension of what we are.
With proper training and practice, our spirit grows, develops, and becomes stronger. By believing in the saving grace of His Son, God gives us the certainty that our spirit will go to be with Him and to live eternally.
Paul goes on to state this so clearly in his second letter to Corinth.
2 Corinthians 5:1 – For we know that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (ESV)
It only makes sense to invest our time and energy into what will last forever.
Prayer: Dear God, we are grateful that You help us to develop our bodies and minds. Help us, however, to realize that the most important part of us is our inner self or spirit, and that we must be reconciled by grace with You and then share Your love with others. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.