A “New Image” for the Old–
A woman who turned 101 years old, was asked by a local news reporter, what she thought of living to such a ripe old age. Her reply made me tickled:
“You know this growing old stuff is for the birds. But considering the alternate, I’ll take growing old.”
When I reached the age of collecting Social Security and Medicare benefits in my 60’s, the “You Know You’re Getting Older When…” jokes began to play against my self-worthiness. I know, a ‘man of God’ concerned about what he looked like in the mirror? Sorry, it happens sometimes.
“You know you’re getting old when…”
* You and your teeth don’t sleep together.
* You try to straighten out the wrinkles in your socks and discover you aren’t wearing any.
* You are on a first name basis with your pharmacist.
That last little “giggle” really applies in my life. Walking into our small town pharmacist the other day to pick up a called in prescription when a voice rang out, “Hi Mel!” And of course, I returned the greeting and yelled across the store “Hi Jerry!!” instead of yelling back across the pharmacy counter, “What ya’ say?”. But as the lady centenarian exclaimed, “considering the alternate…”; guess I can still chuckle at “getting older” jokes.
SCRIPTURE – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Amplified Bible:
 Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.
 For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!].
 Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.
We Are Living in a Plastic Surgery World!
I recently read in a survey dealing with plastic surgery in America, that 48% of women are interested in liposuction, cosmetic surgery, or a combination of the two. An additional 23% said they would “possibly” be interested [Footnote [i] ].
Despite the traditional implications of cosmetic surgery as a feminine procedure, a surprising number of men expressed a similar interest. Twenty-three percent of the men surveyed said they were definitely interested, 17% said they “might be interested [Footnote [i] ].
Outwardly we are wasting away! (2 Corinthians 4:16)
The apostle Paul’s opponents FOCUSED on the bodily presence, worldly skills, and money. Sound familiar today?
The Greco-Roman world worshiped the body, consider the Olympic Games. They focused exclusively on the external: exo anthropos; dee-af-thi-ro; “to rot thoroughly” – i.e. to ruin – corrupt, destroy, perish.
2 Corinthians 4:4: “For the god of this world has blinded the unbelievers’ minds [that they should not discern the truth], preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (the Messiah), Who is the Image and likeness of God.”
Verse 4:18: “Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.”
In Paul’s Day…
In Paul’s day, as in our day, most people seem to focus on what is VISIBLE and FLEETING.
In our culture the “worship” of the human body. Someone watching on TV an infomercial while eating Nachos, seeing a person receiving a stomach bypass surgery, collagen injections and liposuction. Is there something wrong with that picture?
Our actions to resist the inevitable becomes obvious and therefore ridiculous. If you can get a tan in a can, why get one?
EMBRACE your aging, regardless your number!
“As a white candle
In a holy place,
So is the beauty
Of an aged face.”
ANTITHESIS: Inwardly we are being RENEWED day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16):
Paul tells us there is another option available to seek: We can be RENEWED “day by day” – Our “earthly home” or “earthly tent” (2 Corinthians 4:16; 5:1, 4).
Some of the most handsome, beautiful people I know and recognize in this life are godly people.
CHOOSE to focus on the INVISIBLE and the ETERNAL:
The Human Heart –
“seek” or “search” to have a SOUL LIFT instead of a FACELIFT. The start begins with the inward renovation with Jesus Christ:
“Always carrying about in the body the liability and exposure to the same putting to death that the Lord Jesus suffered, so that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be shown forth by and in our bodies” (2 Corinthians 4:10 AMP).
It is a daily process, “day after day”; His life in us and not our life.
SYNTHESES–Deductive Reasoning comes into play at this point–
We have “precious treasure” stored in JARS OF CLAY:
“We possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves” (2 Corinthians 4:7 AMP).
The NIV translation of the above verse says “jars of clay”; baked clay pots, cheap, breakable and replaceable but still serves a necessary function:
* 2 Cor. 4:16;
* 4:7 “may be shown”
ILLUSTRATION of treasure in “jars of clay”—
We can possess God’s LOVE within our lives, but if all you have is the outward, then it will pass away:
“Therefore you not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:7, 8 NIV).
To focus on the outward and neglect the inward is but “Fool’s Gold.”
2008 Fitness magazine poll:
1,000 women were asked what they would do to get their desired weight: 21% said they would trade ten years of their life!
The greatest prize to find in life is…
Not your outer appearance but your inward glory. When it comes right down to it, true makeovers happen from the inside out. Care and maintain your body image, but do not worship your body.
The “Disobedient Body” – a Story by Philip Yancey (See Footnotes for source) – A powerful Metaphor for the Church:
I have a bright, talented and very funny friend in Seattle named Carolyn Martin. But Carolyn has cerebral palsy, and it is the peculiar tragedy of her condition that its outward signs–drooling, floppy arm movements, inarticulate speech, a bobbing head–caused people who meet her to wonder if she is retarded. Actually, her mind is one part of her that works perfectly; it is muscular control she lacks.
Carolyn lived for 15 years in a home for the mentally retarded, because the state had no other place to put her. Her closest friends were people like Larry, who tore all his clothes off and ate the institution’s houseplants, and Arlene, who only knew three sentences and called everyone “Mama.” Carolyn determined to escape from that home and to find a meaningful place for herself in the outside world.
Eventually, she did manage to move out and establish a home of her own. There, the simplest chores posed an overwhelming challenge. It took her three months to learn to brew a pot of coffee and pour it into cups without scalding herself. But Carolyn mastered that feat and many others. She enrolled in high school, graduated, then signed up for community college.
Everyone on campus knew Carolyn as “the disabled person.” They would see her sitting in a wheelchair, hunched over, painstakingly typing out notes on a device called a Cannon Communicator. Few felt comfortable talking with her, they could not follow her jumbled sounds. But Carolyn persevered, stretching out a two-year Associate of Arts degree program over seven years. Next, she enrolled in a Lutheran college to study the Bible. After two years there, she was asked to speak to her fellow students in chapel.
Carolyn worked many hours on her address. She typed out the final draft–at her average speed of 45 words per minute a page–and asked her friend Josee to read it for her…Josee had a strong, clear voice.
On the day of the chapel service, Carolyn sat slumped in her wheelchair on the left side of the platform. At times her arms jerked uncontrollably, her head lolled to one side so that it almost touched her shoulder, and a stream of saliva sometimes ran down her blouse. Beside her stood Josee, who read the mature and graceful prose Carolyn had composed, centered around the Bible text: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surprising power is from God but not from us.”
For the first time, those students saw Carolyn as a complete human being, like themselves. Before then her mind, a very good mind, had always been inhibited by a “disobedient” body, and difficulties with speech had masked her intelligence. But hearing her address read aloud as they looked at her on stage, the students could see past the body in a wheelchair and imagine the whole person.
[i] – Statistics, Surveys and Trends – American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
[ii] – Joseph Campbell, “The Old Woman”.
Billy Graham – BG Photo cnsnews.com
Mother Teresa – Google Photos at http://www.biography.com/mother-teresa/
– Photo Pin.
Story Source Credit:
The “Disobedient Body” / “Disappoint with God” a story of Carolyn Martin; the “Hope” chapter by Philip Yancey – https://books-google.com/books 2009.