By Robert Halsey Pine
“So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:13-5:10 NRSV).
What a wonderful way to look at our lives. Our natural bodies begin wasting away as soon as we are born. We have a definite shelf life. But as we grow older, and we seek the Lord, our inner nature is renewed more and more, day by day. This is our preparation for an eternal life with Him who cannot be seen now. If we can see it, it is temporary. If we cannot see it, it is eternal.
In electrical terminology a resistor is a device that resists electricity in an electrical circuit in order to protect or control. I compare this to St. Paul’s description of our outer nature. It is designed to protect us from the external and allows us to control our lives. Unfortunately, it tends to slow down and interrupt the flow of the Spirit to and through us to our inner nature which is of God. Fortunately, our resistor, this outer nature, does wear down and waste away as we age. This process let’s God’s Spirit inhabit us in preparation for that which cannot be seen.
Blessed are those who can find the Lord at an early age. For most of us it takes a large part of our lives to find Him. No matter, for we should be happy at any age to have shed our outer nature and to have connected our inner nature to our Lord and God. The important thing is to get there. To achieve eternal life through Christ Jesus who died for our sins, which dwell in our outer nature. At one point in my life God just ripped off most of my outer nature and threw it away.
This happened as a result of my being in a Christian community as a sinner searching for a closer relationship with God, combined with a life-threatening event. In order to heal me, the Lord had to speed things up a bit and dress me down. His surgical method of removing a large part of my outer nature was to tell me that I was forgiven. He did this in such a way that I could not doubt the fact, as I had doubted it in my life before. I shed tears of joy when He said to me, “Now go my child and try life again, and tell all those who will listen of my love.” What is the condition of your outer nature? I pray that it is wasting away and that you are being renewed day by day.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.