Saturday, October 19, 2013

I May Be Decay On the Outside, But I am Life Within

                The past few days have been nothing but trials for me. One thing about being ill, it definitely improves your prayer life! After being released from the hospital, and finally being in the comfort of my own home, I suffered an allergic reaction from the medications I was given. On top of everything else my illness became worse because of the medicine the doctors said would heal me. (Only Jesus can heal- I think He just proved that!)  I was not happy at all and was in severe pain. I appealed to all my brothers and sisters in the Lord and asked for prayer. The last thing I wanted to do was go back to the hospital. So prayers went up and I called out to the Lord God to heal me and restore me back to health last evening.

                As I lay in my bed last night, crying and feeling miserable, I thought about the scripture passages that refer to these corruptible bodies of ours being changed into incorruptible. I thought about death, and what laid ahead for me, a simple woman who loves Jesus. This morning, those same scripture passages came into my mind. There will come a day when this mortal flesh of mine will die away and I will be given a new body. After the struggles and pain I went through last night, I was praying for that day to come quickly! But, the Lord God strengthened my heart and showed me that even in my pain and suffering there is a glory and a testimony due Him.
                “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16
                Paul tells us that our outward man is perishing. When I looked up the word perishing, in this
context, it refers to a worm or moth that eats away at things. My Aunt (who is now with the Lord Jesus) used to put moth balls in closets because she had an issue with things being eaten up. They would eat the wool clothing, the cotton garments, the linens and anything else they could eat. That is what I feel like is happening to my body- it is being eaten up by the moths of death and decay. My outward body, no matter what I do, no matter how hard I try to keep it from decaying, it is slowly dying and being eaten away at daily. Death is eating away at my flesh, and soon I will become dust, whether I like it or not!
                But, I do not lose heart. Because my God says to me that even though this body is dying He is working life in me. He is renewing me daily; He is strengthening me from the inside out. He says to me that even though I see the decay on the outside, there is a greater work being worked within my very soul. I am being strengthened by His Holy Spirit; my soul is receiving life and vigor for the eternal glory that is to come.
                All the sicknesses we face, the bodily dysfunctions of our daily lives, we will and must endure. There is no getting around it, but we do not have to become discouraged or lose heart, because it is all for a greater glory which is to come. Even as my outward man perishes and decays through the struggles and trials of life, the Lord God works in me to bring me to a more effective, life giving ministry. Even my illness and sicknesses, and slow decay of my body are a testimony to the grace and goodness of God, because even as we take a beating on the outside, God is blessing us and renewing us on the inside! How great is that!
               
This flesh will die, but me-the inward part of me is young in Him and full of strength and vigor with the life that He is working in me. The inward me will never die- no matter how decayed this mortal flesh of mine becomes. Paul tells us that we, the corruptible, must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:53) My outward man is doomed to die, there really is no miracle drug to save me, no exercise regimen to follow, no foods to eat that will delay the inevitable- we will all face death and we are experiencing decay. This mortal woman must put on immortality, I must let go of all that is flesh and embrace the knowledge, the hope, and the promise of life eternal through Jesus Christ my Lord. When I am able to do this, then the discouragement of decay will no longer have an effect on me.
                As I get older, as my body wears out, I need not lose heart, I need not be discouraged. For inside of me, inside of each of us, is the Holy Spirit who daily strengthens me and readies me for the life that is to come, a life that never dies; a life of eternal glory with my Lord Jesus Christ. Paul goes on to say in 1 Corinthians 15:54 that “death is swallowed up in victory!” Because when I have let go of this mortal flesh, when I have grasped the hope of eternal life, death no longer has any power over me.
                Charles Spurgeon puts it beautifully, “I will not fear thee, death, why should I? Thou lookest like a dragon, but thy sting is gone. Thy teeth are broken, oh old lion, wherefore should I fear thee? I know thou art no more able to destroy me, but thou art sent as a messenger to conduct me to the golden gate where I shall enter and see my Savior’s unveiled face forever. Expiring saints have often said that their last beds have been the best they have ever slept in.” Amen to that! There is a death that is working on our outside to make us want to lose heart, but God speaks to us today and says, “Do not be discouraged, do not be dismayed, for I am working in you a greater glory and a life that will never die.” Death has no power over us. Even though this mortal, corruptible body of mine is decaying away, there works in me a greater power, a greater force that leads me to the golden gates where I too will see my Savior’s unveiled face.

           As I see my mortal flesh dying, I am renewed with hope that there is a better life waiting for me. I need not let the sicknesses and illnesses of this life get me down, for I have a hope and a promise from God the Father that He is working life in me, pouring into me strength and vigor so that He and I may be together forever. So this illness that I have faced, this sickness that has struck my flesh is just a passing moth that shall become a testimony to the grace of God who lives in me and works through me for His glory and for my life eternal. Amen and Amen! O Death, where is your sting? For Christ has taken the victory and no more shall you discourage me, for I have life in Christ for all eternity!