“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man in decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.” (II Corinthians 4:16)
It is a sobering reality to many when they observe the gradual decline of their physical abilities. Many become depressed and discouraged by what they are experiencing. But the Apostle Paul indicates here that it is not so for him — and it will not be so for wise Christians today, either.
Paul writes: “Therefore we do NOT lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying …”. He says that even though he and other believers see that their bodies are decaying, they “do not lose heart.” How can this be? How can they not be discouraged by this? It is becasue they have a corresponding comfort:
“Though our outer man is decaying, YET our inner man is being renewed day by day.” Even though they detect that their physical bodies are declining, they are comforted by the spiritual growth they see happening at the same time. Their bodies are heading towards death, but they can see that at the same time, God is growing them spiritually, “renewing their inner man”, and preparing their hearts more and more every day for heaven, and they are comforted by that.
This certainly not true for everyone. If you see your body deteriorating, and do not have a hope in heaven, you will indeed “lose heart.” But it is not so for the growing Christian. Although his outer man is decaying, he can see that his inner man is being renewed — and he knows he is being prepared for something much greater than the pleasures of this life.
How is it with you? If you notice your body is decaying, do you yet see a corresponding growth in your spiritual life that is a comfort to you? Do you realize that you are one step closer to heaven, and you are glad for it? Or do you “lose heart”, because all your hopes are set here on earth, in the body you inhabit here and now? Your attitude about your body’s decline as you age says a lot about where your real hope is: is it here on this earth, or with God in heaven?