Temporary Vessels

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

A few days ago, I was having a conversation with someone about some things that have been happening lately. I truly believe they are spiritually rooted, but they are still being evidenced in my physical body. As we were talking and she was encouraging me, God gave me the phrase, “In this body, but not of it.” This phrase keeps echoing around in my mind as I have gone about these last few days. I am seeing more and more how applicable it really is. I want to start by looking at the scripture that is most closely related to this phrase. In John 17:14 Jesus said:

14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

Jesus here is talking about his disciples. He says that He is not of this world, and neither are they. Later in this chapter Jesus also says that this applies to anyone who will believe in Him, not just His 12 disciples. When Jesus went to the cross to die for our sins, He didn’t ask for a legion of angels to save His human body and punish the wrong doers. As He battled with tears of blood in the garden of Gethsemane he recognized and submitted to the fact that he was “in His body, but not of it”. He was human, but more importantly He was and is a spirit-being. When we become saved our spirit-being comes alive just as His is. Let’s look at Colossians 1:13:

13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,

and 1 Peter 1:23:

23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,

This is the point when we join the kingdom of believers who are “in this body, but not of it.” Let’s look at another Biblical example of someone who chose to live outside of their body. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 it says:

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

No one knows for sure what this “thorn” was, but it must have been something disturbing for Paul. He asked the Lord three times to take it away and He didn’t because He said His strength was made perfect in Paul’s weakness. Paul was living “in his body, but not of it.” I know so many in the body of Christ that are dealing with various health issues. There are some (often myself included) that sink below the weight of their trials and fail to stand on the fact that they are “in this body, but not of it”. On the other hand, there are those that have made it their mission to live out this phrase. Despite the doctor’s appointments or hospital visits, they continue to minister, evangelize, pray, worship and gird up their faith in spite of how they feel or what their diagnosis is. This is where I want to be. I want to respond as Paul did in the end of verse 9, “I will glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may live in me.” This is living “in my body, but not of it.” What about the next time the enemy whispers in our ear that we are too short, too tall, not pretty enough, too tired, not fast enough or not young enough? Instead of wallowing in this and wishing we were something we were not made to be, what if we told him we are, “In this body, but not of it”. Despite the fact that God knows we are all living in temporary vessels, He creatively designed each of us with a new measure of individuality. He wants us to embrace who He made us to be, but more importantly than that He desires that we live “in this body, but not of it.” Our bodies will someday return to dust, but our spirits will exist for all of eternity. There is one more point I want to make. The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:24:

24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

It doesn’t say we “will be healed” or “can be” healed, it says we “were” healed. This wasn’t a future thing; this was a line in the sand at that moment. He has already purchased our healing and salvation. When we can tell the enemy and our own soul time and time again that we are “in this body, but not of it”, we are recognizing the power of what Jesus did on the cross. We are standing and declaring that in spite of how we feel or what condition we have, we are healed and made whole. We will not allow the enemy to use our bodies to distract us from the incredible journey God has for us.

Final Thoughts…

No matter our physical state, our weaknesses or our thorns, the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us. Try this phrase out today. You might be surprised how applicable and encouraging these seven little words are: “in this body, but not of it”. If nothing else, it takes the focus off of us and puts it back on our Creator. From Him we came and to Him we, as His children, will return. Lord, never stop showing us how to live with less of us and more of You.