image courtesy of Beverly & Pack
Our Heavenly Dwelling
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight.
Clothed With Our Heavenly Dwelling
I have been stuck on this passage the last couple days enjoying things I was getting from it. For instance, the line about longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked brought up some interesting thoughts.
Were Adam and Eve clothed with a heavenly dwelling before the fall? Later the verse says that the Holy Spirit is a deposit of this clothing of heavenly dwelling. So were Adam and Eve clothed with the Holy Spirit as a deposit or did they have the full thing?
What Does This All Mean?
While I find this line of thinking interesting, I am inspired by the phrase that we were made for this very purpose. This gets us beyond theological musing into the intent of God for our lives. We were made to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling and the Holy Spirit is a partial deposit of what is to come. So what does this mean? If we were made for this, I want to know what it is.
I think Paul follows with a practical explanation of what it means. He uses two analogies of contrast to bring light to this concept.
- Home in the body; away from the Lord
- Live by faith, not by sight
Live By Faith, Not By Sight
This second phrase is something I have heard throughout my Christian experience with varying levels of understanding to what it means. At times it has had the mystical weight that is often put on the phrase, “faith as big as a mustard seed”. Is this faith in whatever we want to happen? How much is enough faith? Should we ignore the things I see because it is all about whatever I am imagining in my mind?
Obviously those questions do not lead into what God has for us and often takes us off track in our Christian walk. I think that following the flow of the entire passage brings clarity to what Paul/God is trying to communicate.
Home in the Body; Away from the Lord
Being at home in the body is equal to being away from the Lord. Being home with the Lord is being clothed in our heavenly dwelling. Therefore it is important to know what being at home in the body looks like. This is allowing the things of our physical lives to take precedence over the things of heaven. Or, to put it another way, it is allowing our understanding of how the world operates take precedence over what God says is true. It is trusting in our five senses instead of the leading of the Holy Spirit… that deposit of the heavenly dwelling.
Basing Our Lives Off Our Senses
Our five senses are not only sight, but hear, smell, taste, and FEEL. I know that the fifth sense is touch, but calling it feel opens it up to more. Touch tells when you stepped on something sharp; feel is the pain mixed with worry of how bad it is cut. I have highlighted feel because this is the level that fear resides.
These five senses are based and controlled by the circumstances of life and our past experiences that define those circumstances. For instance, when you touch a hot stove, you learn not to do it again. Therefore if you have tried something in the past that has caused you pain or embarrassment, you are not likely to try it again. If a circumstance in your life comes up that feels like a past experience that caused pain, you will approach it with caution. If you have had a friend betray you in the past, you are not as likely to open up to someone else. Similarly if you have done something in the past that has made you feel good, you are likely to go back to do it again (e.g. addictions).
God is saying that basing our lives off our five senses keeps us away from Him.
Living Based on What God Says is True
Isn’t that irresponsible? Isn’t that the definition of futility, to try the same thing over again and expecting a different result? There is something different here. If Peter had trusted in his five senses, he would not have gotten out of the boat to walk on water. The difference of faith is God calls us to something different, and as soon as He calls us to it, that is to be our new reality. And, since He has called us to it, we can and should expect different results.
So faith is not in whatever we want to get. Faith is living by what God says is true, not what we have experienced as true based on the past. This is how we are clothed in our heavenly dwelling.
Sight Will Limit Our Prayers
As long as we believe sight as our true perspective, our prayers will be limited. When we operate on sight we think:
- that person will never come to Christ
- we can’t afford to take time off work to spend time with my family
- I’ll never overcome my sin
- the doctor said she only has 6 months to live
God may just have a different reality. Do not be limited by sight, but ask God for His will and pray accordingly.
- What situation in your life are you trusting in sight and not even asking God His perspective?