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  • Writer's pictureDwight Smith

Clothing Makes the Man…or Woman!!



“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21) Many translations of the Bible use the word “lowly” and so potentially cloud our understanding of the full meaning. Older translations use the word “vile” instead of lowly. The older word digs deep into the modern days psyche. What too many want to hear is, “I am ok your ok.” How often have I wondered, “why is so and so preening in front of the camera for all of their friends to see?” Of course, I am NOT saying that all pictures on such sites are preening. The world markets nonstop an obsession with what I look like, to myself and others. How much of our economy is built upon this question? Without the amount of available pills, face makeup, hair coloring, exercise clothes and equipment, body covering, even shoes, where would our economy be? We are assumed to be convinced narcissists Often I hear preachers lamenting that we don’t fully understand how complete we really are in Christ. We say, “how richer, satisfying, content, fulfilling and assured” we would be if we would just contemplate our position in Christ. I agree, but maybe this “information” is blocked from our ability to contemplate it by mundane cultural fallacies? Cultural fallacies that want to me to be “dissatisfied” with my present outward appearance just enough to constantly “do” something about it!


Now, I am not saying that we should disregard our concern for outward appearance. What we eat does affect our “joy” of living full and healthy. Clean and neat clothing do provide a covering more becoming than rags. On and on we can rightly go. However, the word vile is the right word in this case, for two reasons. One, it best describes the full picture of the impact of sin on this present body. As I near an ending point to my earthly life, I have observed the promised judgment of God on my body, “in the day that you eat of this forbidden tree, you shall surely die.” I am dying! And, it is evident in what is happening to my body. No amount of pills, or exercise, or clothing, will stop the decay or the final implosion, death. Two, the word vile is meant to convey a comparative between our present body and the future one we will receive from God. God wants us to anticipate that body. When we do so more often, we begin to engage our true home. Think more about heaven, and, life here will be filled with meaning, but “second” to our home that awaits us. We are meant to feel like sojourners during our time here. Sojourning is not natural to the rightful self preservation instinct that God gave us in the beginning, and it protects us from dangerous decisions. So, to be content to enjoy God’s creation, the work that He has created for each of us to do, the many relationships He gives us, and, in the midst of this, still value the next, eternal world over this one, is not an easy task. This life is here and now, and more often than not, totally eliminates reflection upon the next one. We have to carve out time to think about where our master is, and what life will look like with Him. We have to read scripture more often to be reminded how to invest today, in light of our eternal home. We have to be fully satisfied in God’s present for us, while crying out with so many others who have gone on before us, “even so come quickly Lord Jesus!” This body holds no comparison to the body that will be ours in the presence of Jesus. “What is sown is perishable; what is raised is 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. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:42-45). We were created to live the fullness of righteousness! Our sins have corrupted that divine design. That includes most of all, our bodies. So, it is both correct and stimulating for Paul to say to the Philippians, “our vile bodies.” For, some day, they will be, “like his glorious body.” Then, look how he ends the thought; “by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” There is no doubt that: 1. Our present bodies are not God’s intended bodies. 2. Our present bodies are full of rebellion, and less of the God like image than He originally designed. 3. Still, our present bodies are to be stewarded to His glory. 4. Our present bodies do not even begin to be comparable to the bodies He has prepared for us in eternity. “Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7-8) So: 1. Let’s not let the world woo us out of focus. 2. Give glory to God that His mercy has given us life even in this body and for His glory. 3. God makes no mistake in our particular creation. Our body was formed by Him. We must steward it well and to His glory. 4. We are not to worship our bodies nor the world that it stands for. Worship God, be thankful, use your body as a sacrifice of service to Him. 5. Embrace eternity, plan for eternity, nurture the values of eternity, joyfully anticipate eternity. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus Dwight Smith March, 2021


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