Many of us have had the opportunity to sit in a brand new car. Perhaps it was only a rental, or a car belonging to a friend, but the experience is the same. As soon as you settle into the seat and shut the door your senses are overwhelmed with that new car smell. We can’t define it, but we all know it. The sad truth of course is that the smell is just the residual chemical odor from the manufacturing process, and sadly it wears off all too quickly. Eventually all of our cars take on the quirky and distinctive odors of their owners. Pick up trucks smell like dirt and hay. Mechanic’s cars smell like grease and oil. College kids’ cars smell like fast food and coffee (maybe that’s what teen spirit really smells like).
The only way to keep a car smelling new would be to roll all the windows up and leave it parked in a cool dark garage, but of course that is not what cars are for.
Cars are vehicles. By definition a vehicle is “a thing used for transporting people or goods, especially on land, such as a car, truck, or cart.” A car’s purpose is to transport people, to move and or carry people through this world. A vehicle is not designed to exist for itself, it is not intended to be perpetually new. In fact it is designed to be used and will eventually wear out, and when it does it will be sent to the scrap yard to be recycled. On that day its worth will be assessed by how far and for how long it was able to fulfill its purpose. Personally, I tend to keep my cars for a long time and I will often brag about how old or how many miles my cars have on them.
Lately I’ve begun to think about my body in a similar way. They say that babies, like new cars, also smell great. I suppose that’s true if you’re talking about a brand new freshly bathed baby, one that smells of lavender and baby powder. But just like used cars, that fresh bathed baby smell eventually wears off. Once the baby (our physical body) gets a few years and a few miles on it, it also loses that “new car” feeling.
Like my cars, I have had my body for a few years now. It’s starting to show a little wear and tear, the shine has gone and maybe it smells more like dust and hay than fresh leather. But that’s kind of the point. You see my body is a vehicle. It’s only purpose is to carry my spirit around for as many years as I am on this earth.
My body doesn’t exist for itself, and when it is worn out it will be sent somewhere to be recycled. The Bible is very clear, this mortal body cannot inherit immortality.
The point I want to make is simply this. You and I are not created for this physical world. The Bible tells us we are pilgrims on a journey, we are just passing through, but for as long as we are here we need a temporary vehicle to carry us around. Paul calls our physical body a tent as opposed to a permanent dwelling. Our goal of course should be to keep our bodies running for as long as we can, and hopefully put as many miles on them as we are able. Eventually they will wear out, and on that day we need to know that it is not the end of us it is only the end of our temporary vehicle. We are spiritual beings and in order for us to function in this physical world we need a physical body, but we need to remember this physical world is not our home. The battles that we fight here are not physical battles, they are spiritual. The problems that I have here are limited to this physical and temporal world.
I need to remind myself constantly that I am on a journey, I’m just passing through!
This world (and all of it’s problems) is not my home… perhaps if I remind myself often enough I will begin to see things the way Paul did.
2 Cor 4:7-18
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you.
And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
C3 Newberg is a community church located in Newberg, Oregon. We exist to impact our City and help individuals find and know Christ. We are a Church for the City and a City for Christ.
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