“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.” (II Corinthians 5:6 – 7)
When I was young, or at least much younger than I am now, I used to wonder which of my senses I would miss the most. (Yes, I was an unusual child and even then spent much time pondering.) I came to the conclusion that I would be loathe to lose any of the five human senses. It does not surprise me now that I wondered about this then. While I treasured all of my senses, if there was a HAVE to be, I thought maybe my hearing. Although, as I said, I did not want to lose ANY!
But fate and destiny conspired, and it was indeed my sense of hearing that I lost. And as I surmised from my childhood pondering, I adapted. The one I thought I would miss the most was sight. So Paul’s pondering is interesting to me. And sparked my remembering how as a young person I worried about what might happen in the future. It took me a while, beloved reader, to learn to walk confidently. But, back to Paul. I do not think he means literal sight; who knows, maybe he did. The theological implication of the verse is that while he may not see the Divine, the faith in his spirit and soul guides him. Me too, Paul, me too.
“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.” (Verses 8 – 9)
If you have to wonder what Paul thinks is pleasing to the Lord – well, you have to read more of Paul!
“For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart.” (Verses 10 – 12)
Paul means this sincerely; he is encouraging his readers to tell others how Paul lives his life, and that he has committed his life to spreading the gospel as it was revealed to him. And spreading the news of Jesus the Messiah as he understands it. Finally, spreading the admonition to live according to the precepts and example set down by Jesus Christ. Outwardly Paul may not be much, but inwardly he is on fire for the Divine.
“For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (Verses 13 – 17)
At each stage of my life I make new discoveries about myself and the world around me. Who I was even a month ago seems to have slipped away making room for who I am now. And the lessons I have learned inform where I am now, and prepare me for what is to come. I do not think (all apologies to Paul) that we become a new creation only once. I think we are constantly growing into who the Divine has called us to be; and even if it is a small change, it is pleasing to us and to the Divine.
May you, beloved reader, walk confidently in your Christian journey, informed by all that the Lord God has to teach you. Shalom & Selah!