Are You Naked?

2 Corinthians 5:1-10 (NIV)

Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.  Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling,  because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.  For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.  Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.  We live by faith, not by sight.  We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.  So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

I have been working on getting in shape recently.  Over that last eight months I have lost about 35 pounds.  Five days a week I hit the gym, lift weights and do a lot of cardio work.  I can see the change.  However, the changes I am making are still temporary.  If I stop working out, without changing my eating habits, the weight will return.  If I stop lifting weights, over time my muscles will begin to lose their tone.

I am also over fifty.  When I turned 40 something began to change.  The excellent vision that allowed me to read street signs from a considerable distance or read the small print, suddenly did not cooperate.  Over time I needed to wear reading glasses.  Today, I wear prescription lens.  On top of that, my joints began to have some pain.  With age, I was beginning to wear out! 

Paul, the author of the letter to the Corinthians, did not have an easy life as a Christian.  The man who used to persecute Christians now suffered for his faith in Christ.  As he said just a few verses earlier, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). Paul saw the bigger picture and he wanted the Corinthians to share his perspective.  What we experience in this life is only  temporary. Our bodies will wear out.  Time will take its toll. The good news is that weakness will be replaced with strength if we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit.  If we have put our faith in Christ we get the Spirit as a deposit, a guarantee of what is to come.  While we are here, in this earthly tent, we have a job to do. We need to use our time on earth to serve God’s purpose for our lives.  For Paul the purpose was to preach Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:5).

Compared to heaven and our glorified, eternal body, what we are on earth is but a tent.  Our earthly “clothes” are rags or nakedness, compared to the heavenly clothes God has waiting.   Our body has its aches and pains.  Life can be tough.  We would rather be in heaven.  We would rather see the Lord face-to-face.  However, we live by faith, not by sight (v. 7).  We groan, we want relief.  We “would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).   Yet we know that there is a purpose for our lives.  God has called us to serve, “So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it” (v. 9).  The reward is great.  More importantly, our God is great and worthy of our best, even when it’s hard.

How do your “clothes” look.  Don’t worry, God has a great wardrobe for you.  Keep the faith, look up, live out the ministry God has entrusted you with.

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