As I get older, I notice more and more my body parts in a sort of a landslide. I know the medical and cosmetic powers-that-be can work wonders these days with surgeries, injections, peels and the like. Tape this part up, snip that part off. I guess it’s too bad I’m not desperate enough, brave enough—or wealthy enough to go any of those directions. Eventually I suppose I’ll probably be looking for more necessary body repairs anyway. A knee here, a hip there.
I wonder if they’ll ever come up with a body parts game show. I can just imagine myself saying something like, “Alex, I’ll take ‘Dermabrasion’ for 1,000.” Or better, “I’ll take the intestine to block.” Or even better, “I’d like to buy a bowel, Pat.”
The number one most frequently resolved New Year’s goal each year is body-related. Lose some weight. Exercise. Get rid of some of the flab. Do what it takes to get in better shape. It’s good to set a goal to become better stewards of these bodies. We can be more fruitful if we’re healthy. But it’s also healthy to remember that focusing on the body—and its inevitable landslide—will leave us frustrated and sorely disappointed.
So maybe it’s also a good time to remember that this body isn’t made to last forever. The good news? It doesn’t have to. First Corinthians 15:51-52, 57-58 says, “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
It’s an encouraging thought to take us into the new year. Stay disciplined in focusing on Christ and his coming. There’s victory there. Revel in the knowledge that this could be the year. This could be the day. This could be the moment! Knowing that trumpet could sound any moment inspires us to stand firm and give ourselves wholeheartedly to whatever he’s called us to do. It prompts us to stay spiritually disciplined. First Timothy 4:7-9 reminds us how important that is. “Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart,” 1 Timothy 4:7-9, The Message.
Flabby body parts? Maybe. But a flabby soul? May it never be. A life focused on his coming and attentive to his disciplines brings about a fitness of soul that lets us smile at a new year.
And while we’re taking to heart encouraging New Year’s thoughts, we might as well hang onto that thought of those new bodies. No perishing. No landsliding. No need for spare parts. Happy New Year, indeed.