"Death is swallowed up in victory!" I Cor. 15: 54
We cling so desperately to this life of ours. We do not want to let go of what we have...what we KNOW here on earth. Heaven sounds wonderful...too wonderful for words, but it is not a reality to us. It is the great unknown. This life, we KNOW. And even with its heartaches and sorrows, it's pains and disappointments, we still cling. Yet if this is all we had for eternity, and we had to spend eternity in THIS body, I think we would all admit, that thought does not hold a lot of great anticipation.
Heaven IS a reality. Eternity is a reality. So is hell. And each of us will spend eternity...forever and ever and ever, in one place or the other. "For what is your life? It is a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." James 4:14 We all have an appointment with death. To some it comes sooner than others. But make no mistake, if the Lord tarries, that is one appointment that you WILL keep.
It is, therefore, important for us to think about and realize that these bodies of ours are only temporary. They are daily wasting away (Boy! Don't I know it!!) As we grow older, we see it more and more and we realize that death is working in us. One day it will overtake us and we will shed this earthly tent for a permanent, glorified body! We will trade the corruptible for the incorruptible, the mortal for the immortal. And although we can't quite grasp it now...it will be a WONDERFUL day!! "For the corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written 'Death is swallowed up in victory!' O Death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory!" I Cor. 15: 53-54.
This should give us all hope...something better to look forward to. And having this hope helps us to cope with all the everyday stuff that gets us down. It also comforts us when we must let go of one we love, especially when we know that one has now put on the incorruptible! They have experienced Heaven in all its glory and ....best of all THEY HAVE SEEN JESUS!!!!!!!!!! Even as we stand by the casket and grieve as we look at their lifeless body, they are ALREADY there...already dancing with the angels, already bowing at the feet of their Lord and Savior! They would not return and if we could see for one second what they've seen and experienced, we would not bring them back, though our hearts are breaking for our own loss.
But for those of us still here on earth, we must make the most of the life we have. We must not get so Heavenly minded that we are no earthly good. Rather we must give our lives wholly to the Lord, allowing Him to use us for HIS glory, to point others to Him, so that one day they, too, can experience all that Heaven has.
Paul concludes this passage in Corinthians with these words of exhortation:
"THEREFORE....[the object of the exercise]...my beloved brethren, be stedfast, unmoveable, allways abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." I Cor. 15: 58.
Today may we contemplate how glorious Heaven will be, how wonderful to have a new, glorfied body...but at the same time, may we also realize that God has a purpose for us here while He allows us to remain in this body and may we be about giving ourselves wholly to that purpose til He calls us home!
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