SOUND INVESTMENTS FOR THE NEW YEAR
JANUARY 16, 2005
II Corinthians 5:1-10 “Your Spirit—Risk Free Investing”
If we are not careful, it is easy to get the priorities of our lives out of order. Fathers or mothers who are pressured by the demands of careers may place those demands over family relationships and the parenting of their children. Hectic schedules may overwhelm our need for quiet time. Watching the playoffs may prevent us from getting our proper exercise.
Perhaps one of the easiest and most common area of mixed up priorities is the relationship between the spiritual and the physical. It is so easy to become focused on the physical, making ends meet, buying bigger and better, job and career, and just getting through the stress and strain of every day, that we totally neglect our relationship with God, spiritual disciplines, and thoughts about the eternal dimension to our lives.
Paul writes to the Christians of Corinth, and to all those in the years that follow, to remind them to attend to the spiritual dimension of their lives, so that they may avoid any regrets.
A DIFFERENT BEHAVIOR
Humans are both physical and spiritual beings. I believe it is this characteristic that separates us from the rest of creation. As such, it is necessary for us to pay attention to both sides of life in order to lead balanced lives.
Paul emphasizes our need to attend to the spiritual side of our lives, but he does it in a subtle manner. He demonstrates the difference of importance between the spiritual and the physical in the type of house that we live in. Our spiritual dwelling is a home while our physical dwelling is a tent. By using these illustrations, Paul not only points out the temporality of our physical existence, but also its importance in relationship with the physical.
Paul is encouraging his readers to a radical transformation of their lives. It is transformation for us who today have leisure time, and are able to ponder the meaning of our existence because our basic survival needs have been adequately and abundantly taken care of. It is even more transformational to a people who live from hand to mouth and who are overwhelmed by the physical requirements to survive.
LONG FOR HEAVEN
Paul notes that all of us long for heaven. We groan under the burdens of life. We want release from our struggles, and an end to our pain. We want comfort and to experience heaven on earth.
God gives us the Holy Spirit—God’s presence in our lives and world today.
¨ The Holy Spirit is a guarantee of heaven and the spiritual side of life.
¨ The Holy Spirit is our taste of heaven. The main element in heaven IS God’s presence and not the absence of pain or conflict.
¨ The Holy Spirit is our one experience of the spiritual and link between the physical and the spiritual.
LIVE BY FAITH
Paying attention to the spiritual side of life requires us to live by faith. According to the writer of Hebrews, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
Living by faith means that we live and act like the spiritual: God, heaven, a relationship with God, is real. This leads to a different style of life.
¨ We nurture our relationship with God, through spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Bible study, worship, and service.
¨ We tithe our treasures. There would be no sense in giving our money away if there was not spiritual side of life.
¨ We serve others. There would be no reason to serve others if there was not a spiritual side of life, and a God who has created us for service rather than accumulation.
God has given us a bigger life than work, taxes and death. God has given us an eternal, abundant life through a relationship with God. God has made this relationship possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
God waits patiently for us to respond to God’s love and to live in the reality of the spiritual. The invitation is always there to come and live by faith.