Then the Spiritual
Last week, we spoke of being God’s creatures. We are earthly beings who have a heavenly Father. I don’t know about you, but I think I spend a fair amount of energy trying to “be spiritual.” Which is a little like trying to be my husband’s wife. Silly, isn’t it? In actual fact, I am his wife, so trying to be something I already am, is quite frankly a waste of energy. I have every benefit of being his and His, if I simply believe the truth. I am who He says I am: accepted in the beloved, made righteous by His blood, and destined for eternity with Him.
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church (Chapter 15), as he admonishes them to believe in the resurrection, he says, “…the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.” Adam was of the earth, and Jesus – the second Adam – is a life-giving spirit. While I do not know all the ramifications of Paul’s exhortation here, I am certain that I have often misapplied it. I grew up hearing this phrase: “First the natural, then the spiritual.” And, I came to think it meant that if I applied myself in the natural to doing the “right” thing, then I would become more spiritual, more “grown up” in spiritual things.
However, as I am aging in the natural, I find that I am less and less sure of what I think I know. Conversely, I am more and more sure of the invisible One whom I believe. And, consequently, I am more and more at ease as one of His own dear family. Adopted, purchased, not for any value inherent in me, but simply because God is love and cannot be anything other than that.
He chose me, first. He imagined me, and then He created me, and He always intended that I should come back home to Him. Death has no hold on me, not because I defy it’s natural effect but because He gave me spiritual life, and after this natural existence, there will be an eternity of ages to come. So, first the natural, then the spiritual.
This natural points to the spiritual, it doesn’t evolve into the spiritual. Jesus had to die in order for us to be ushered home in our intended state of right-standing with the Father. In the same way that the natural elements of bread and wine taken in communion are physical representations of a spiritual reality, so are all things created by God physical evidences of Him who is spirit (John 4:24). He came first, and the “heavens declare His glory.” (Psalm 19:1)
Heavenly Father, I thank you for your mercy, your kindness, your goodness. All these expressed so dramatically to me when you sent your Son to die in my place. Your loving-kindness, your faithfulness, your grace abound to me, and I am undone. I live to reflect your goodness, and I am glad in my heart to participate in your goodness to those around me. Give me a heart that loves you more and more. Give me a heart that is motivated only by your love. Let your song, which is my life, bring you glory and honor. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Take some time this week to reflect on what it means to be His. Take a walk out of doors and consider the wonder and majesty of His creation, and respond to Him from your heart.
Until next week, look for the goodness of God and participate with Him in His joy.