Growing in the likeness of Christ

Yesterday I wrote about training and taking care of my body.  Many of us work hard to care for our physical body and that is good.  I recognize though, in my aging body that wrinkles are coming and I have gray hair where I used to have no hair at all, but the worst of it are the pains that are there – the aches and pains that have come from the wear and tear of the years of use.  We were walking up town at the Tulip Time festivities in Pella last night and my wife and I found ourselves in the care of our young niece – about 18-months old (side note: isn’t it funny how those under two we age them by how many months old they are and many that are past the 40 mark stop counting completely?).  My wife wanted me to take a picture of the two of them and because they were sitting I thought it would be better if I squatted down to take the picture.  My wife commented to me about how old I am getting because of the struggle I had rising once again.  Later we went to the grand-stands to sit and watch the parade and my father-in-law after a time began squirming and complaining about his back hurting.  I also watched an older gentleman go a few rows up in the bleachers and had to use all fours to do it so he would not fall.  Did you know that once you reach the age of 40 the military will not take you?  If you are already there is one thing, but they are looking for those in the prime of life from 18-25. I have heard older men whose bodies are less capable say if only I knew then (when their bodies were strong) what I know now.  Why do you suppose that it is that way?  Here is what I thinik:  My body must die that the Spirit can have control.  My flesh is demanding, selfish and throws a fit like a baby when it doesn’t get it’s way.  The Holy Spirit is gentle and will not force its way in, yet our Lord is working to transform us into His likeness.  My prayer is that my body will stay strong long enough to live out the calling God has on my life and then I die.  I do not want to become dependent on someone changing my diaper and feeding me. This detiorating body will not be what we are stuck with in the end, nor will we be separated from it once it is all said and done.  Check out these verses. ‘…your youth will be renewed like eagles.’ (Psalm 103:5) For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.’ (words of Jesus John 6:40) ‘What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.  So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.       If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.’ (1Corinthians15:36-49) Our bodies will be made into the likeness of the one who went before us, our Lord and Savior Jesus – just as he appeared to the disciples and many others after his resurrection .  Remember this – we can do everything through him who gives us strength (Philippeans 4:13). Be encouraged, Steve

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