Reversal or Renewal?
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Early in 2000, gene researchers excitedly announced the discovery of a genetic “switch” that might slow down the aging process in humans. They conservatively estimated that, within a few years, the life expectancy of a newborn might easily be 120 years. The genetic switch has already been proven to work in earthworms; soon they hope to test it in humans.
An unwillingness to live with a biblical truth regarding human experience is behind the “live longer” research: “Outwardly we are wasting away.” About the time we develop enough wisdom to live life successfully, our bodies begin deteriorating and falling apart! But such is the human condition. Every human being on planet earth, apart from the end-of-history intervention of Christ’s return, is destined to die. Our bodies wear out, out diets are not what they should be, and there are unexplained genetic and congenital events which “just happen.” Such is life in a fallen world. While medical technologists are to be commended for their efforts and their motives, no research will ever reverse the fact that we were born to waste away and die.
But thankfully, the Christian does not depend on the reversal of aging for his or her hope. Rather than reversing, we revel in renewal—the daily renewing of the inner person. This is a paradox in the believer’s life: As the outer body decays and wastes away, our spirit should become stronger and more vibrant. The apostle Paul certainly found this to be true. He who had been “hard pressed . . . crushed . . . perplexed . . . persecuted . . . [and] struck down” (2 Cor. 4:8-9) in service to Christ became more Christlike and mature with every passing day. Whether our body is wasting away due to extreme physical demands like Paul’s, or just from drawing near the end of our allotted years of life (Ps. 90:10; 139:16), there is no upper limit on the renewal of the inner person.
Don’t set your hope on relieving the aches and pains of life through science. All such relief is temporary at best. Rather, invest your energy daily in cultivating spiritual fruit—a legacy that will outlive you many times over.
God’s Promise to You: “Your strength of spirit can always compensate for weakness of body.”
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