Birthdays, Bodies, and Souls

  “Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day”

II Corinthians 4:16

I had a birthday the other day.  Not one of those wake up in the morning and realize that you’re another year older birthdays.  No….this birthday was one of those kind where you go to bed at night and wake up in the morning to discover that while you were sleeping the clock lurched fast forward and the calendar suddenly blew past an entire decade.  I had now entered the Twilight Zone called “elderly.”  Suddenly what hadn’t ached when I went to bed, now did.  What hadn’t been sagging when I climbed under the covers a few hours earlier, had now dropped.  Do you know what I’m talking about!

The Bible has some important things to say about getting older.  But I believe what the apostle Paul wrote in II Corinthians 4:16 may be the most significant regarding “maturity.”  “Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.”  Obviously Paul is reminding us that we have a physical body.  But he is also awakening us to the realization that we possess something of far greater value than simply the material.  We possess a soul.  Animals do not possess a soul.  Birds and fish aren’t even aware there is a soul.  We humans are the only part of God’s creation that is made up of an inward person and an outward person.  That outward person Paul tells us is perishing.  And why not?  It holds no eternal value.  Our body enters this world unwittingly and departs it unwillingly.  In other words, our body was made to perish.

But the real value of a human being is our soul.  The soul is eternal.  The soul never grows old.  It never deteriorates.  It neither withers nor fades.  And when our soul has been given to Jesus Christ it becomes more and more vigorous and prosperous, thus becoming more valuable.  When Paul writes that our soul is being “renewed” every day, he chose a word that means “renovated.”  Imagine if you awoke every morning to find that while you were sleeping your entire house had been renovated.  Every day you had a brand new home to live in.  That is exactly what the Holy Spirit does for us.  He rejuvenates, restores, restocks, and replenishes our inward person each and every day.  Meaning that each day we have a new vital breath of life.  We don’t have to try to stir up what we have left over from the day before.  Everything we need for the day is NEW.  The body cannot be renewed – or made new.  It is what it is.  It is headed to the grave.  But Paul reveals to us in II Corinthians 4:16 that the Holy Spirit refills us to the brim with everything we will need for the new day ahead.

So for this new span in the journey called life that I find myself in, I am making a renewed commitment to the Lord to focus more on the fullness of my soul than on the length of my life.  And that makes me not mind that extra candle on my cake!