2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure (the gospel of Jesus Christ) in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. …16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.
I was looking at some old pictures recently and took note of how my physical appearance has changed over the years. While I’m still in very good health overall, the years begin to show. I have lots more gray hair than I used to. I’m a bit more round in the midsection. I need my eyeglasses pretty much all the time now. My hearing is diminished some as I often have to ask people to repeat what they’ve said.
Other changes aren’t visible on the outside, but are felt inside. As I’m writing this post, I know I didn’t get a very good night’s sleep. I used to sleep like the dead, but now I struggle to stay asleep through the night. I hate that! Looks like I’ll finally break down and go see a doctor about this. I guess you could say I can relate when Paul writes, “Even though our outer nature is wasting away…”. Yep, that’s what it feels like. Slowly but surely my physical capacities are diminishing. But there’s the second half of that verse which is also true, “…our inner nature is being renewed day by day”.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve paid more attention to my “inner nature”, that part of me that will live after my mortal body dies. I have a long way to go, but there are some places where I’m making progress. I’m a much more prayerful person than I was 20-30 years ago. I’m at peace with who I am, not always feeling the need to be and do “more”. I’m learning to be a bit more patient with myself and others, though some of you might challenge me on that point. I’m learning to listen more and talk less. I’m learning to be grateful for my life as it is, not as it will be one day. True, there are some days when I forget all of this and lapse back into a less mature version of myself, but those days are fewer and less frequent than they used to be.
And for all of this I give thanks to my God, whom I shall one day meet face to face.