Last month I wrote about turning 63. I am ashamed to admit how this aging process has been a battle for me. I have been lathering on the facial moisturizers since I was 20, thinking I could defy the physical signs of aging. You know, it worked pretty good…temporarily.
A few weeks ago my daily Bible reading led me to 2 Corinthians 4:16:
Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside of us is made new every day.
Thank you, God, for reminding me that I can’t defy the physical signs of aging, but as a believer I am promised a daily renewal of my spirit! Preparing me for eternal glory!
Yes, God came to my rescue. He came to fight the battle for me. Not with sword or knife, but with His word.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
God was waging war against the forces of evil that had allowed my pride to take over. Yes, I was more consumed with the outward physical signs of my aging body than the daily renewal of my spirit.
God had been preparing this life lesson for a very long time.
Sixteen years ago, I read the words from Isaiah 40:8 when I gave a Bible to my son Trevor. (please note photo below) Wish I could say that those words impacted my life at that moment, but they didn’t.
My two sons attended Pine Cove Christian Camp in East Texas from first grade through high school graduation. They always told me it was the best week of their year! On the drive home from picking them up on August 4, 2001, Trevor told me he wanted a new Bible for his birthday. So overjoyed and thankful for his request, I immediately whipped into the Lifeway Christian Bookstore, that we just happen to be passing, close to our home in Katy, TX.
While Trevor was away at college, my husband and I moved to Austin, TX. As I was packing up Trevor’s bedroom, I discovered the Bible tucked away in a drawer. Trevor had gone off to college, but left the most important teaching tool at home. His Bible!
Before boxing up that Bible, I read the words from Isaiah 40:8 again. Even though Trevor wasn’t currently walking with the Lord like he had been when he was 15, I had hope that God’s word that he had heard at Pine Cove and church would remain forever tucked in his heart. However, now I realize Isaiah 40:8 was really meant for me!
Fast forward to September 2017. Bible study started back up with 1 Peter, A Living Hope in Christ by Jen Wilkin. In the second lesson I Peter 1:24-25 jumped off the page:
“All flesh is like grass,
and all its glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
Looking in the margin I saw that the verses actually came from Isaiah 40:6-8. Hmmm. All I knew was the last verse, but the first one compares our flesh to the grass and flowers. The grass that withers and flowers that fall.
Of course, we will all take one last breath, at God’s predetermined time. If it’s God’s will, we will grow to a ripe old age, which means our bodies are going to deteriorate. Our skin will wrinkle and sag. Our bones will ache. But our spirit inside of us is made new every day!
Our dead, physical bodies will turn to dust, and the believer’s spirit is what will live in heaven for eternity. Our spirit is what matters.
We have a promised inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:4). Why in the world do we get caught up in the perishable things (status, appearance, money, home, job) that will only wither and die, like the grass and flowers?
Instead of worrying about my wrinkles, my time would be better spent taking all my thoughts captive to God. Instead of smearing my face with the newest moisturizing cream, I could be spending more time soaking up God’s timeless words that will change the condition of my spirit for eternity, not temporarily reduce the visible signs of aging.
I have been seeking all kinds of remedies to look younger, preserve my body, stay healthy. Vitamins, creams, diet, exercise. Nothing wrong with wanting to stay healthy, but obviously God wants me to focus more on preparing my spirit for eternity with Him.
I am in awe of how my Father works in my life. He put a Scripture right in front of me 16 years ago. Intervened on my behalf against the evil forces of pride. Led me to a Bible study to open the eyes of my heart… so that His word will endure forever in my spirit.
Why wouldn’t I want more of His everlasting word indwelling within me? I want to look more like Christ. Certainly not a younger version of myself.
What is dead and fleeting that you are focused on? How are you preparing for eternity?