by Kevin Burton
It’s great fun to translate words and phrases into Spanish and then back into English. Sometimes the result makes me laugh, sometimes it makes me think.
In Spanish you ask “How old are you?” by saying, “Cuantos anos tienes?” Translated back into English it means “How many years do you have?”
If there is one thing I know about the aging process, whatever the number gets to, I do NOT have those years. They are gone, gone, gone.
At least in one sense they are.
The apostle Paul tells us to “Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God,” (Col. 3:2-3 NASB).
After we die, we stop counting years, right?
In the King James version it reads “set your affection.” I might add, create your definitions and self-image based on things above, not on things on the earth.
To prepare for a visit to Montreal years ago, I tried to learn a little French, because that language is widely spoken there. Now that did not turn out well. That’s a tale for another time!
But shouldn’t heaven-bound Christians learn more and more of the language and ways of heaven? I think the Montreal visit was five days. The Bible says heaven is forever.
Age is one of the main ways we define and identify ourselves on earth. For example in a crime story, the suspect’s age is usually given up front.
But with a heavenly perspective, how relevant is it how many years we have spent in earthly life?
In the book “Teach Us To Number Our Days,” distributed by Our Daily Bread Ministries, writer David Roper takes this heavenly approach in talking about outward appearance versus inner beauty.
In the song “Love Will Keep Us Together,” made popular by The Captain and Tennille, songwriter Neil Sedaka wrote the lyric, “Young and beautiful, someday your looks will be gone.”
This is not a secret. Huge, big-money industries are dedicated to trying to camouflage this truth. With the heavenly perspective though, how much does deteriorating appearance matter?
“In the meantime, though the outward person is perishing we can invest in inward loveliness,” Roper writes. “The more we center on inner beauty, the less preoccupied we’ll be with that external glory that is inexorably fading away.”
I can assure you I never got close to achieving “external glory.” Inward loveliness by contrast, is something we can work on and improve while still on earth, until such time as the era of aging has ended.
Roper writes about having a generous and charitable heart filled with grace and forgiveness. It’s part of the process of shedding the human shell and taking on a heavenly visage.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new,” 2 Cor. 5:17 KJV).
Colossians 3:12 says, “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and
Also, I Tim. 4:8, “for bodily training is just slightly beneficial, but godliness is beneficial for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
Here’s another thought from Roper on how we measure age.
“Gerontologists tell us we’re three ages at once: chronological, physiological and psychological,” Roper writes. “And I would add a fourth, our spiritual age. This is the true measure of our maturity.”
So how old are you now reader? Has this blog post aged you, or sent your mind in a different direction? To find out what you truly look like, what tool will you use, an earthly mirror or the word of God?
Oh, and there is good news for the Christian on the subject of outward appearance.
“In the end our bodies will be rescued from the tyranny of change and decay and we will share in the glory that belongs to us as the children of God,” Roper writes. “When Christ is revealed, we will be revealed in everlasting splendor.”