Every morning I get in the pool for a swimming workout, and I wish I felt as good as I did when I was still in college. Now, my splits are just a shadow of my former self. If I used to be able to swim 100s on the 1:05, now I struggle to make 1:10. It seems that my glory days in the pool are behind me, and that I’ll never be quite as good as I once was.
This seems to be the trajectory with much of our lives. In categories of beauty, joint pain, hair lines, posture, and many other things, we decay. Our default trajectory is one of degradation not enhancement. Entropy, like in all of creation, rules our bodies, and that is why swimming is just a little bit harder now than it was a decade ago. I am a shadow of my former self.
But in regard to my character, I am only a shadow of my future self. As a Christian, my true identity lies in the future. Who I am is defined by who I will be. My character now is only a distant reflection of who I will be one day when I become completely me at the resurrection.
For now, I continue to struggle with virtue, discipline, faith, and love. I indulge in sin, and I omit those things I out to do. I fall short in so many ways. But the good news of the Gospel, the good news of salvation, is that I am who I will be. I am not who I am now.
I was reminded of this while listening to a talk by N.T. Wright posted at the Veritas Forum’s site. They’ve got a lot of great resources on their site. Here are links to his talk called “Why the Resurrection Matters.”