One of the most agonizing things about addiction to pornography is the separation of who you are from who you want to be; and who you are from who you ought to be.
It is the decay of personhood that is a result of the Fall. The corruption of body and soul with evil desires and godless thoughts.
In the previous post we looked at God’s promise to resurrect us with new and improved bodies. For the next four posts in the series we will look at the contrasts Paul brings up between our current bodies and our new bodies.
“So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44).
Perishable vs. Imperishable
Other valid translations are corruptible vs. incorruptible or mortal vs. immortal. In other words, it is a very rich and loaded term. I could probably do a whole series on just what perishable and imperishable means for the sexual idolater.
Allow me to offer a definition of imperishable that I think summarizes most of the nuances of the original word: a body that is imperishable is one that has permanent holistic peace.
What I mean by peace is not merely an absence of conflict but a presence of well-crafted wholeness. It is the difference between a tangled pile of yarn and a beautifully woven tapestry.
This imperishable personal peace is the woven togetherness of every aspect of your being. It is permanent and spans every aspect of who you are including your relationships with God, others, and creation.
For those of us struggling with lust, I think there are three primary ways that this is really good news:
No more inner conflict
That agonizing separation of who you are from who you ought to be will be gone. You will genuinely desire God and his will alone. There will be no more temptation. You will no longer be pulled in complete opposite directions by your deceitful heart.
And don’t miss this: God is working this change in you right now. He is starting this transition to permanent holistic peace now. The process is slow and painful but he has promised to complete the work he has begun in you (Phil 1:6). The process has many ups and downs but the overall trajection is upward. It IS happening.
A never ending growth of eternal blessings
The law of diminishing returns is always at play with worldly pleasures. That means each time you try to satisfy yourself with sexual pleasure it takes more and more stimuli to reach the same level of fulfillment. What was enough one time will only tease your appetite the next time. Each time you will need more to feel the same as the time before.
On the other hand, an imperishable body means that heavenly pleasures will not fade over time but increase. Each time you partake of the same heavenly feast it will be more fulfilling than the time before.
Your joy will not perish or fade. Your knowledge will not perish or fade. Your love will not perish or fade. Neither your desire to do right, your enjoyment of beauty, and your legacy of glorifying God. Nothing about you or your experience of heaven will perish or fade. It will always increase.
Granted, I believe there will still be an ebb and flow to the pleasures of heaven, meaning there will be times of more pleasure and less pleasure. But even our times of less pleasure in heaven will be incomparably greater than our times of greatest pleasure on this earth.
This too is something God is working in you now. God is already redeeming your body and soul so that your experiences of joy are ever increasing and not decreasing. Believe me, there are long seasons of pruning where it seems like he is not doing this. But he is. Continue to seek his kingdom and you will start to see fruit in due time.
All for the glory of God
We were made to glorify God. Everything we do should be for that purpose. We need to forsake doing things for the sake of making our name great and start doing them to make his name great.
The funny thing about that though is that we will only be motivated to do that when we see it is the best thing for us. Jesus hints at this when he calls his followers to lose their life for his sake: “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25).
If you’ll notice, Jesus is actually using the desire we all have to pursue what benefits us the most to motivate us to lose our life for his sake. He acknowledges that we are driven by our own desire for self-preservation. And instead of rebuking it us tells us how to fulfill it.
Bringing it all together: Seeking our own imperishable-ness IS seeking God’s glory IF we see that our permanent woven togetherness makes God, the artist, look really great. Your joy in him that is never diminishing shows the rest of creation how incredibly enjoyable he is.
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