“So we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. In fact, we are confident, and we would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
So we have this guarantee in a future hope and resurrection that will make meaningful all the struggles and trials we face in this life. We have a down payment on this future joy in the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts and bringing to bear the various fruits of the Spirit. Because of this, Paul says this weird thing about being away from the Lord and then being with the Lord. What does he mean?
While we do have the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts as followers of Jesus, we are not with Him physically. There is a separation of sorts for as long as we are in these bodies. We cannot be with our Lord as the disciples were who walked with Him because He ascended to the Father’s right hand where He waits for the great and glorious day of His return.
This is why we walk by faith and not by sight. But what does it look like to walk by faith? It looks like doing the things Jesus did and living after the pattern He set in spite of His not being here. It looks like living as if there really is something after this life and that what we do now really does have an impact on what it will be like. It looks like loving others boldly, knowing that even if they don’t return the investment, we are following after a pattern that will continue to unfold into eternity. It looks like living with the fruits of the Spirit constantly coming to bear in our lives. It looks like doing all of this even though there is not a single thing we can see with our eyes that would guarantee us any kind of a meaningful return on our efforts.
We can’t see Him. We can’t see the fulfillment of our hope. We can’t see so much. But we trust. We have faith. This is no blind faith, either, but the entirely reasonable conclusion to follow after our Lord in light of all the evidence in favor of such a decision, most notably the very resurrection that is the substance of our hope.
That’s all fairly clear. But then Paul says this thing about desiring to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. What does this mean? Well…let’s talk about it…next time.