But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus…But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (Philippians 3: 13-14, 20-21 NIV)
Do you feel tempted to look toward the future with discouragement and even despair? Today, I heard a broadcaster say New York would never recover from COVID.
I know the threat of COVID will pass, but there are so many other reasons people lose hope.
I’m getting older and as my knees ache, my eyes have trouble focusing, and I miss major points in conversation, it’s easy to look ahead with dismay. But these verses from Paul to the Philippians encourage my heart and cause me to rejoice.
Just as there can be JOY in remembering the goodness of God in our past, there is an unwavering JOY awaiting all those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
- In Christ we have eternal life – we’re going to be raised like Jesus with immortal bodies!
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. (I Corinthians 15: 42-44 NIV)
- In Christ we are being rejuvinated day by day – our outsides are getting older, but our souls are being conformed to the image of Jesus!
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (II Corinthians 4:16 NIV)
- In Christ our perseverance will be rewarded – an eternal glory is ahead!
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (II Corinthians 4:17 NIV)
- In Christ we see the unseen – our glorious future, both here and in eternity!
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (II Corinthians 4:18 NIV)
As we live out our mortal lives on earth, in Christ we are already members of the kingdom of God and living in the glory of our promised future life. Our troubles are temporary and God promises to help us though every one of them (Isaiah 41:10, II Corinthians 1:3-5, I Corinthians 10:13 NIV).
And when we shed these mortal bodies, we will be changed – in a twinkling of an eye – and put on our glorious eternal bodies!
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (I Corinthians 15: 51-54 NIV)