The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is a spectacular building. Its architecture is spellbinding, and its stained-glass windows and beautiful interior features are breathtaking. But after centuries of towering over the Paris landscape, it needed renovation—which had begun when a devastating fire caused extensive damage to the glorious old building.
So the people who love this eight-century-old landmark are coming to its rescue. More than a billion dollars has been raised to restore the building. The stone structure must be shored up. The damaged interior and its prized artifacts need to be repaired. The effort is worthwhile, though, because for many this ancient cathedral stands as a symbol of hope.
What’s true of buildings is also true of us. Our bodies, like this old church, will eventually look a bit worse for wear! But as the apostle Paul explains, there’s good news: while we might gradually lose the physical vibrancy of youth, the core of who we are—our spiritual being—can be continually renewed and growing (2 Corinthians 4:16).
As “we make it our goal to please [the Lord]” (5:9), relying on the Holy Spirit to fill and transform us (3:18; Ephesians 5:18), our spiritual growth need never stop—no matter what our “building” looks like.
Where have you seen the Spirit renewing your spiritual being? How does the knowledge that our spiritual growth never stops inspire you?
Paul often compares our current existence to what we’ll experience with God in eternity. In fact, this passage in 2 Corinthians is the second time he’s addressed this issue with the Corinthian church. In his first letter to them, Paul spent a great deal of time (most of chapter 15) discussing the difference between life now and the life to come. He also talks about our future hope in Ephesians (1:18–23), Philippians (1:20–23), 1 Thessalonians (4:13–18), and 1 Timothy (6:17–19).