Summary: When we look to the outside appearance of things our senses, and our emotions can mislead us. We need to look to what changes God is making in us, in preparing us for a new body and a new life with Him
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The Change Within
Pastor Tom Fuller
What sense is most important to you? I’ve heard it said that people who lose one of their five senses tend to develop one or more of the other ones to compensate: blind people can smell or hear better than others. What is for you? Most of the time we combine our senses to give us accurate picture of the world – but did you know that your senses actually fool you on a regular basis?
Your eyes, for instance. Ever wonder why movies look the way they do? In reality, a motion picture is nothing more than 24 individual still pictures moving across a light every second. Your eye knows that it is 24 frames, but your brain interprets those frames and turns them into a fluid motion that looks as real as anything you see around you. The phenomena is known as “persistence of vision.” Your eyes allow each frame to remain on the retina just a little longer so it tends to blur into the next one – it’s the reason that when you look into the sun then close your eyes you see spots.
That’s not all – each of our senses has built in mechanisms that fool us so that we can make sense out of the world around us. Have you ever played the game of sticking your hand into a bag and trying to guess what’s in it by touch only – or how about by smell only?
Even our emotional senses can be fooled, or manipulated into making us feel, think, or even do things that we wouldn’t otherwise do.
This concept applies to our walk as Christians as well. Too often the things we see going on around us, and our interpretation of those things leads us down the wrong path of reality. So Paul the Apostle this week attempts to give us a dose of real reality – as a way to wake us from the dream state we often live in, and help us live lives more purely devoted to God.
In Chapter 4 Paul has just finished talking about how even though we go through terrible trials that kill us on the outside – inside His Spirit renews and strengthens us. Fortunately, that’s not all that happens – we don’t end up as some broken down body limping along forever but really strong inside – you know, the “you’re only as young as you feel” kind of thing.
No – watch this.
5:1 Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 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. 5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
It makes sense for Paul to use tent analogies – he was a tent maker by trade. He uses the tent to represent the temporary nature of our bodies here on earth. The word “destroyed” in verse 1 means to dismantle a tent.
Have you ever been in a tent in a really big storm? You know how temporary they feel. (survival camping, coast camping). Our bodies are the same way, really. You are only one heartbeat away from death. In many ways it’s a miracle that we go on day to day.
But Paul is saying: “there is a better reality waiting for you – a body that wasn’t created in a mother’s womb but by God Himself.”
Another possible way to render this comes from the United Bible Society Translators Guide to the New Testament: "For we know that our bodies here on earth are like tents. And if they die, God will give us a house in his place, which is not made by human beings. Rather it is made by God himself, and it will last forever."
Right now we “groan” Paul says – I know what that’s like – I groan more and more as my body gets aches and pains and weaknesses. But I think there is a greater sense of groaning that Paul is getting to – the groaning of trying to live amidst the suffering and the attacks that come upon us while living on this earth.
And here’s a question – just how comfortable are you on earth? If given the choice right now – how quick would you be to say, “yah, beam me up, Scotty, I want to go to heaven”?