The World View
We live in a world where the physical receives priority in regard to about every aspect of our lives. Let me be specific: most people eat three meals a day or twenty-one a week. Some add snacks and coffee breaks to augment their intake of food and drink. Many people take a bath or shower each day. The amount of time taken to shave, comb hair, brush teeth and prepare for our daily appearance in public vary from person to person. Physical exercises of all kinds are increasingly a part of our culture. On and on I could go concerning the time, money and energy expended on the PHYSICAL MAN.
The above mentioned things are not wrong in and of themselves. Each person must make the decisions in these areas to what he or she will do. But what is not done as MEANS rather than an end is vain. We must all acknowledge that what is physical ends in death (Hebrews 9:27).
The Christian View
The Christian has a different point of view. His INNER man is of utmost importance. All else exists for the development and growth of the spiritual man to live with God forever. Paul is correct when he wrote to the Corinthian Christians: “We do not loose heart, though our outer man is wasting away, the inner man is being renewed every day…for things which are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
Do you have three spiritual meals a day? Do you engage in Bible study, prayer, fellowship and service to others throughout the day? Do you pray briefly while waiting for a red light to change? Do you read a scripture in the office while waiting to meet an appointment? Do you sing while riding a bike or walking on a road? Do you look in the spiritual mirror (James 1:25) to learn and then to do something for the inner man? Do you let the Holy Spirit clothe you in compassion, patience, lowliness, kindness, meekness (Colossians 3:12) so that as an ambassador for Christ in public, people will see Him? (2 Corinthians 5:20).
An Education Tragedy
If each Christian would open his or her written transcript at high school graduation, college graduation or even post graduate achievement, it would reveal academic competence in material things but few would indicate significance in spiritual training. The inner man has been impoverished. Also, most adults after attending church after decades have a very limited knowledge of the Old Testament, New Testament, Church History, or Christian Evidences. While being able to tell who are the movie stars, the best professional athletes, the current music artists, etc. few can explain clearly redemption, justification, sanctification, glorification and other vital Christian teachings. Biblical illiteracy is rampant. What a tragedy!
Each individual must stand before God some day and give an account of his or her stewardship (1 Corinthians 5:10). Therefore, start now to revamp priorities:
- Set aside each day time to study God’s priceless word with purpose and enthusiasm. Stop starving the INNER man with one hour attendance at church each week. Place yourself at a spiritual table where words of the Spirit can feed, equip, strengthen, and enable you to serve your fellow man and become more like your precious Savior.
- Take time to pray for your family members by name; for their physical and spiritual well being. Inform them that this is your daily practice. Each one is always unique as an integral member of the body of Christ.
- Fill your continual petitions to God with thankfulness for His unending love. His marvelous salvation set forth in His Son Jesus Christ, and His eternal promises.
- When someone asks, “How are you today?” respond with, “By His grace, I am His child and enjoy the blessings of being a new creation in Christ Jesus” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Or you might say, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
- Render joyful service as each opportunity arises; send a letter or card to someone in need or a note of appreciation, or make a phone call or send and e-mail note of encouragement or challenge. “Do something today, you can rejoice about tomorrow” my father used to say. Paul’s teaching in Colossians 3:1-4 is superb. “If you have been raised together with Christ, keep seeking the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind upon the things above, not on the things of the earth for you died and your life stands hidden together with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is your life, is revealed then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”
- Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all the physical things of the world will be added by the Lord as you may need them. You will rejoice again and again NOW and ETERNALLY! AMEN!
By Dr. Stephen D. Eckstein, Jr., former director and instructor, for 35 years, at the Bible Chair, Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New Mexico