Scripture:So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord – for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. (2 Corinthians 5:6-9)
Reflection:Paul writes about the body as an Earthly tent in his Second Letter to the Corinthians. The Earthly tent is mortal; it is like the clothes people wear. However, while in the Earthly tent, people groan, that is, they yearn for completion, when the Earthly tent will die and they will enter into a house not made by human hands, “eternal in the heavens.” The stress that is engendered by being in an Earthly tent but desiring a Heavenly home could lead people to despair. However, Paul prefers that those who believe that Jesus died and God raised him remain confident, that is, full of faith, full of conviction, full of certainty that what God did for Jesus he will do for all who continue to walk by faith.
Walking by faith is a way of life in the midst of the stress of being in an Earthly tent and desiring a Heavenly home. In other words, walking by faith means that people see differently; they have a vision of the resurrected life that is to follow death, the destruction of the Earthly tent. This lifestyle both dictates what they do and don’t do, and it demonstrates faith to others. By their moral lives people reveal or preach without saying a word the faith in which they stand. Thus, no matter if they are in a bodily tent or in a Heavenly home, they bear witness to their faith that Jesus died and God raised him from the dead.
Several modern examples may help people understand this important aspect of a spirituality of mission. Many contemporary people tell others what they know they want to hear in order to avoid conflict; then they proceed to engage in whatever behavior they want. Their outer words do not match their inner dispositions. There is no vision inside that is directing outward behavior. Students tell their teachers whatever they think the teachers want to hear, even if what they say is not even close to the truth. Drivers tell police officers whatever they think will keep them from getting a ticket, even if it is not even close to the truth. Employees tell employers what they want to hear about the product they manufacture, even if they wouldn’t buy the item themselves. There is no basic way of life, vision, purpose, that dictates what one says or does. Consequently, there is no change to which people look forward in the future. Those who walk by faith are evangelizers who speak the truth in every situation because they know that they are living in a temporary tent and one day through death will enter a Heavenly home.
Journal/Meditation: What stress do you experience being in an Earthly tent but desiring a Heavenly home? How does that stress assist you in walking through life by faith?
Prayer:Lord Jesus Christ, you bestow confidence upon those who at home in the body are away from their Heavenly home. Grant that I may walk by faith, not by sight, and please you until I arrive in the kingdom, where you live with the Father and the Holy Spirit in eternal Trinity, forever and ever. Amen.