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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Learning To Focus on The Futhre, What Is Unseen

In review of 2 Corinthians 4:18 it says, “Things that are seen don’t last forever, but things that are not seen are eternal. That’s why we keep our minds on the things that cannot be seen” (CEV).

In 2 Corinthians 4 I’m reminded that God in his mercy has given me a new way, therefore I should never give up. I should continue to reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. I shouldn’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. Instead, I need to tell the truth before God. I'm much like a fragile clay jar containing great treasure. This makes it clear that any power I have is from God, not from myself.

In this life, I’ll get pressed on every side by troubles, but I won’t be crushed. I may be perplexed, but not driven to despair. I may be hunted down, but never abandoned by God. I may get knocked down, but I am not destroyed.

I should never give up, though my body may be dying, my spirit is being renewed every day. For my present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for me a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So I don't look at the troubles I can see now; rather, I fix my gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things I see now will soon be gone, but the things I cannot see will last forever.

Paul reminds me that though I may think I'm at the end of my rope, I'm never at the end of my hope. My perishable body is subject to sin and suffering, but God never abandons me. Because Christ has won the victory over death, I have eternal life. All of my risks, humiliations, and trials are opportunities for Christ to demonstrate his power and presence in and through me.

As I face great troubles, it's easy to focus on the pain rather than on my ultimate goal. Just as an athlete concentrates on the finish line, ignoring their discomfort, I too must focus on the reward for my faith and the joy that will last forever. No matter what happens to me in this life, I have the assurance of eternal life, when all suffering will end and all sorrow will flee away.

It is easy to lose heart and quit. Rather than quitting when persecution wore him down, Paul concentrated on experiencing the inner strength that came from the Holy Spirit. I should not let fatigue, pain, or criticism force me off of the job. I need to continually renew my commitment to serving Christ.

I need to remember that there is purpose in any suffering. Problems and human limitations have several benefits: (1) They remind me us Christ's suffering for me; (2) they keep me from pride; (3) they cause me to look beyond this brief life; (4) they give me the opportunity to prove my faith; and (5) they give God the opportunity to demonstrate his power. Learn to see troubles as opportunities.

This life is not all there is, there is life after death. Knowing that I will live forever with God in a place without sin and suffering can help me live above the pain that I face in this life

So, everything I see around me is temporary. The building I’m in, the computer I working at, and even my body will one day disappear from existence. Yet it’s what I can’t see around me that will last forever. And those realities are what truly matter.

The Bible tells me in 2 Corinthians 4:18, “Things that are seen don’t last forever, but things that are not seen are eternal. That’s why we keep our minds on the things that cannot be seen” (CEV).

Spiritual realities are more real than physical ones. I need to focus on the spiritual ones, what’s really real. I’m learning that there are five spiritual realities I need to take to heart.

God made you to love you (see Jeremiah 31:3). God created you to love you, and he wants you to learn to love him back. This is the most important reality of life.

I was made to last forever (see Ecclesiastes 3:11). The evangelist Billy Graham, who passed away in February, talked about death this way: “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”

God has prepared two eternal places. Both Heaven and Hell are real, literal places. They’re not just “states of being.” Ultimately I get to choose where I’ll spend eternity. I won’t accidentally find myself in Hell one day. I’d be there because I chose it or refused to choose Jesus and spend forever with him in Heaven. Because I choose to make Jesus the boss of my life, I'll spend eternity with him in Heaven. If I had choose to reject him, I’d spend forever in Hell. There is no middle option.

I will get no second chances to make my choice. My choice had a time limit. I may have an entire life to make the decision, but I’ll never know when my time on Earth is over. There is no chance to change your mind after death.

Nothing matters more than eternal realities. What I do with these five truths will not only affect my eternal destiny, it also transforms how I live on this side of eternity.

Bottom Line:
What we see won’t last, therefore we need to keep our minds on the eternal and unseen things.

What this means to me:
What I see before me today, won’t last forever. It’s the things I can’t see that will be eternal. Therefore I should always focus my ultimate thoughts on the future unseen things.

As I reflect on this, I’m glad I have made the choice to make Jesus the Lord and leader of my life. I shouldn’t let troubles and difficulties (the large pool of work and demands) get to me. The difficulties are teaching me and building my character. It also helps serve as an example to others. I’m also reminded that I shouldn’t try to trick anyone or distort the truth. The other night, I was more interested in getting an updated solution in place. I let fatigue, and potential criticism force me to try to hide the truth. I’m reminded that I need to tell the truth before others as if it was before God. It is my commitment to serving Christ, therefore I ask you father for forgiveness.