I love camping…well, sort of. I love the great outdoors, the sights and sounds of nature, and a good campfire for roasting hot dog wieners and melting down some marshmallows for s’mores! And I love that very first night when I crawl into my tent.
But within a little while it comes back to me that because I’m now past fifty years old, I just don’t handle sleeping on the ground very well. An air mattress sure helps these old bones if I have one. But even at that, after several nights, I’m weary, ready to pack up the tent, and go home.
Did you know the Bible calls your body a tent? Your body is not the real you. The real you is a spirit, made in the image of God (James 3:9; Gen. 1:27) and made for an eternal home with God. And for now, the real you is simply camping on the low plains of this earth. The summit is ahead for the Christian.
One day, any day, the real you will move out of the tent and return into the keeping of God, the Father of spirits (Hebrews 12:9), Who first breathed into you the breath of life (Genesis 1:7). The tent, this ole body, will return to the dust from whence it came (Ecclesiastes 12:7). The next destination for the real you depends on the direction your tent has been pitched – a life lived for God (heaven) or a life lived for self (hell). The Bible story of Abraham and Lot shows us that it really does matter in which direction you pitch your tent. Compare the two when you can (Genesis 12:8; 13:12). Even though a righteous man, Lot’s tent was aimed toward much grief, while Abraham stayed more focused on “the city that has foundations whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10).
Peter used this “tent” metaphor when he neared the end of his life.
“Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent,
to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly,
I must put off my tent, just as the Lord Jesus Christ showed me.”
(2 Peter 1:13-14)
It will be a great day when the Christian “breaks camp.” The spirit will break free from the confines and limitations of the earthly body. We yearn for the new tent, the one specially suited for heaven’s eternity. The new tent (the new body to which our spirit returns) never has leaks, dry rots, mildews or becomes totally unusable. It is incorruptible, glorious, spiritual, and raised with great power (1 Cor. 15:44).
“For we who are in this tent groan,
earnestly desiring to be clothed with
our habitation which is from heaven.”
(2 Corinthians 5:2)
Remember, you don’t have to be post-fifty for the spirit to break camp. It can happen at any time, hence the need to always be ready (James 4:13-14). Won’t that be a wonderful day if you awaken with a new tent in Canaan’s happy land? Shouldn’t you pitch your tent in that direction now?
– Jeff May