When speaking of things that are imperishable, the Christian mind can wander into several directions. Imperishable can bring our thoughts to heaven which will last forever and ever. We can also take to heart the impressions that have been instilled within us through God’s Word of eternal life. These are avenues our mind naturally takes when thinking of things which are imperishable. But we miss so much more if that’s as far as our imaginations take us.
To illustrate I invite you to think of baseball. On opening day, each team has the same hope. Each team starts out with the same record, 0 wins and 0 losses. Their hope is that by the end of the baseball season, their record will be better than anyone else as they raise the World Series trophy in victory.
For all but one team, this hope will eventually fade and by the All-star game, most will have given up that hope – at least for this season.
As Christians, we are blessed to hope in things that will never fade because the things we hope in are imperishable. Most of the athletes who place their hope in worldly glory will one day see that hope fade, but believers can be assured that the things they place their hope in will never fade. For those who place their faith and hope on worldly rewards, even the rewards they receive will one day fade into obscurity. However, those who place their faith in heavenly things can know that their hope is unending. “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable” (1 Corinthians 9:25).
That’s one thing that separates those who place their hope in Christ from those who choose not to. For those who choose to rely on the world for their salvation, “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So, they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the (imperishable) God for (perishable) images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things” (Romans 1:18-23).
Striving for worldly reward is certainly not a sin. Everyone should strive to receive the trophy. Competition is healthy and valuable lessons are learned, even when we lose. But those who place all their hope on these perishable goals will never experience the ultimate satisfaction of placing their hope on things which will never perish.
“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:50-55).
If you are one who depends on the things of the world which are perishable, I invite you to place your hope in things that will never diminish. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).
Place your hope in the imperishable promises of God. Resist the urge to place your faith in things which are temporary and begin to trust in the one who offers you hope everlasting. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of things which are imperishable like hope, joy, peace and everlasting love. Forgive us for placing our hope in perishable things and help us to anticipate the things you have offered which are imperishable. Amen.