Our job is to learn to dwell on the eternal, not that which is temporary, and that begins with how we think.
The members of the United Church of God have just returned from a commanded assembly, a very special festival, where we intentionally took up residence in a temporary dwelling. We may have stayed in a tent, an RV, a hotel/condo, or rented home. And whether or not the entire structure could be disassembled, the stay was temporary just the same. Intentionally, we left our homes and stayed at a temporary location.
We all have a place to live, a place we call home, but during the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day, we as God’s people left our homes and dwelled elsewhere for a short, prescribed amount of time.
As Christians, we understand that the physical is temporary but the spiritual is permanent, and if we have our hearts set on that that is permanent, we can make that transition from a temporary life to an eternal life.
1 Cor. 15: 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I would imagine that those who live under Christ’s Millennial rule will feel like where they live is no less permanent than how we feel about where we live. As a matter of fact, I bet they will be more attached to their dwellings than we are to ours. Economies and circumstances won’t cause them to leave their homes or the proximity of their relatives and childhood friends, and they will likely be born and die in the same general vicinity.
Yet, our understanding of this era in the saga of man is an emphasis on temporary dwellings. Why?
Well, in all of the history of man up to that time, though it will be the most wonderful time in that history with Jesus ruling over mankind, the situation will still be temporary. Man will still be flesh. Man will still sin, and man will still need the Passover Lamb to save them from death.
As we just read in First Corinthians, flesh is mortal and spirit is eternal. And, specifically, referring back to chapter 15, verse 56, where it reads, “The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law,” that mortality is derived fro sin.
So, I have a question for you, today…
“Where Do You Dwell?” (I didn’t say we, because I want this to be personal.)
Have you returned from the wonderful experience called the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great day, depressed or a little bit sad? Is there a way to tackle what I’m going to liken to postpartum depression for the sake of description?
What is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression - depression suffered by a mother following childbirth, typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, and fatigue.
We’ve spent the Feast accumulating a vast amount of knowledge while we were experiencing an unusual amount of Christian fellowship and “livin’ it up”, but did we consider we were nurturing something as yet unborn, something, that as we left was born into something else that we must NOW nurture, feed, and direct; something that is no longer being prepared, but must be used.
Again, I ask, “Where do you dwell?”
So, if we are going to use that which is good, that which is righteousness, we must dwell on these things. This dwelling place is not temporary but eternal. It makes sense that where we dwell is where we live. Is that a redundant statement? Yes. But, it’s not as redundant as you might think. If I am dwelling on the spiritual, I will do the spiritual. If I am dwelling on the physical, I will be caught up in what is physical.
So, do you have trouble doing what is right in one scenario or another? Well, where is it you dwell?
Are you caught up in conspiracy theories or the politics of human interaction? Are you focused on the sins of this world, comparing yourself to others? When you talk about your brethren are your words uplifting or often expressing some concern about their behavior (i.e. are you a gossip?)?
If we don’t learn to dwell on the spiritual, but remain focused on the natural, I give you the very word of God, we are then bent on what is temporary and passing away. Even the wonderful world tomorrow is temporary. Sin and death will not yet be conquered, and man will still have to be taught to ask the Father that His kingdom would come.
I said, “I give you the very word of God,” so here is just one example…
1 Corinthians 2: 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 3: 1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?
But there’s a solution to that which is natural and temporary. There’s a place to dwell that is spiritual and eternal. You could say you and I were carrying an unborn child during the Feast, a child that was then born the moment the Feast ended. It felt so good to carry that child in the midst of easy nourishment, and the joy of celebrating God’s coming rule in the realm of man.
But, as we know, a conceived baby must one day be born, kept clean, fed well, instructed wisely. We can dwell on those challenges negatively, or we can see them positively. We can pine away about the easy life we found in the Feast as compared to “real” life, or we can take the spiritual we were given at the Feast and apply it to “real” life. We can throughout this coming year experience the joy of that which is eternal; not temporary.
The following scripture is the foundation for that success.
Turn to Philippians 4…
Philippians 4: 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Again I ask, where do you dwell?
Today, tomorrow, and every day after is a day we can choose to dwell on that which is eternal. If our thoughts lead to a focus on others’ sins real or imagined, on the troubles of this world, and on the negatives of this life, we are dwelling on the temporary, and the temporary passes away. It is temporary due to sin.
Let us not suffer post-Feast depression because we have LEARNED to see the challenges of this life as only temporary, and as OPPORTUNITIES to focus on the eternal, because we become focused in our thoughts, words, and actions on God’s righteousness, not our own, which is only filthiness (Is. 64:6).
Remember Mr. Kubik’s webcast sermon this Feast where he featured Psalm 15 as a concise instruction for how to dwell with God?
God’s dwelling is permanent. It’s eternal because only God’s righteousness dwells there. Where do you and I dwell? Well, as I derive from verse 2 of that Psalm, if we live out God’s righteousness by striving to do so while speaking God’s truth, not only from our mouths, but also in our very thoughts (from our very hearts), we then cannot be moved (as verse 5 states). We will be dwelling on that which is eternal. In conclusion, we will, daily, be happily dwelling with God.