Daily Devotionals

Stages of the Cross: Week 4 - Wednesday

Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8

I have a confession today: I do not like camping. Oh, I am all about bonfires and s'mores, but I am not a fan of the whole "sleeping in a tent" thing. The only few times I have been camping, as I found myself trying to sleep in my tent, all I could think about was my bed. I just kept thinking about my warm home and comfortable bed. It's not the most pleasant experience. It caused me to think only of home.

While camping makes me think of my comfortable bed and home, on a much deeper level, Scripture teaches us that this world will often remind us that it is our temporary home and that we have a much greater home waiting for us in heaven.

In 2 Corinthians 5, the Apostle Paul wrote that our physical bodies are only temporary. One day, like tents, they will be "taken down" when we die (verse 1). For believers, this means that we will have new bodies and we will finally be home. Until then, our earthly bodies will remind us that we are not home yet. We will have pain (physical, psychological, and emotional). We will often grow weary, longing for more. CS Lewis puts it this way, "If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world." The aching, longing, and desires we feel serve to remind us that we are not home yet.

What are you facing today? Are you struggling with the health of your physical body? Are you struggling with emotional pain? Is a broken relationship, in turn, breaking your heart? My friend, these are reminders to us that we are not home. This is not to discount the pain you may be experiencing, but to remind you of what is to come one day for those who place their faith in God. One day you will finally be home and will not be experiencing the pain that comes in this temporary home we are living in. Take heart! You are not yet home. Praise God that we have a greater home waiting for us with Him!

Moving Toward Action

As you consider the fact that this world is not our true home, we have to ask ourselves how we are living our lives. Are we living for the things of eternity, such as God and His kingdom, or are we living for the temporary things of the world like money or material things? Take a few moments and answer this question: "Am I living for this world or for my true home?" How can you orient your life so that you are living for your true home rather than your temporary home?

Going Deeper

Read 2 Corinthians 5:1-21 (NLT)

For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.

So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.

Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.