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Are you in bondage to decay or plugged into the power of Jesus?

by Jonny Boyd on September 25, 2018

Are you in Bondage to decay or plugged into the power of Jesus?

 

I am afraid of growing old. Growing old affects people in different ways but it seems to me that it is common for older people to slip into a condition where they become grumpy old men or women. They become set in their ways, cynical, bitter, complaining, unhappy, impatient, judgmental, harsh and rude. Too many times, I have seen people become the person they swore they never would. In some respects I have a lot of sympathy for why age affects us like this when I consider what it must be like to live with the chronic pain, insomnia and frailty of age and to experience the way our society can often disregard, ostracize or abuse the elderly.

It makes me think about how everything in this world is subject to decay. All living things die. Buildings crumble, food rots, machines break, metal tarnishes or radioisotopes decay. Even systems, ideologies and societies break down over time. Perhaps, most importantly relationships deteriorate over time unless there is a consistent commitment to maintenance.

I think about the second law of thermodynamics which states that in a closed system entropy (kind of like disorder) increases with time. Meaning that over time, the whole universe will decay towards a state of ‘heat death’ where everything is the same temperature, density and mass leaving no complex systems, like lifeforms, behind.

I think about how aging is programmed into our genes so that there is literally a countdown to death in the telomeres of every cell in our body.

The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8:21 that ‘creation itself is in bondage to decay.’ People say that time is a healer and as a former doctor I understand how healing takes time yet it seems more true to say that time is a killer.

 

 

The question that is begging to be answered is - do we live in a closed system or is there something out there who can stop the decay? I think the evidence of our reality must lead us to answer with a resounding and hope filled - YES!

Something caused the universe to pop into existence. Some creative power caused complex lifeforms to emerge. All around us we see the potential for growth and newness. All our human energy is focused on finding those things that can keep us alive, maintain what is good and even help us improve. The quest for the elixir of life is not over.

On a personal level, I see many older people are able to resist the dehumanizing affects of age in becoming more gentle, loving, graceful, wise, understanding, content and at peace as they grow old. How do they do it?

Jesus said of himself in John 5:26 “For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself…” Later he says “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies.” I think Jesus is referring to what theologians call ‘divine aseity' which is the belief that God has life in and of himself and requires no outside energy to keep him alive. He is not subject to decay. Then, God reveals to us that his creative power can extend to us if we believe, repent and become his disciples. The way to avoid the decay of this world is to get plugged into the life that God gives to us. This is what I think the bible authors mean by the term ‘eternal life’. Eternal life is a type of life that is empowered by the endless creative power of God’s divine aseity.

Medical research is increasingly backing up this ancient truth. It is becoming clear that religious beliefs, church attendance, singing, prayer and meditation can prolong life, delay aging and prevent age related illnesses like strokes and alzheimers.

Some will say that they see many Christian believers becoming grumpy old men and women and how do I explain that. Well, I would say that the power of decay is difficult to resist and Christians are imperfect. I would also say that not all Christian converts are disciples of Jesus. Many Christian converts do not grow up into maturity so live with only a small trickle of the divine power available to them.

What this knowledge reveals to me is that I need to be a fully devoted, sold out disciple of Jesus if I don’t want to become a grumpy, bitter and twisted old man and instead live life to the full, growing old with faith, hope, love and joy. Plugged in to the power of Christ Jesus.