Saturday, March 7, 2015


I like to squeeze all possible dictionary meanings out of words. In this key verse from Saint Paul's letter to the Corinthian Church, he tells us precisely how to look at our negative circumstances when we encounter them. "Look, focus on, fix your eyes, stare at, gaze intently with eyes wide open, behold, concentrate on a central point, direct the eyes, pay steady attention to, hold the eyes on, position the mind securely upon" what we can't see: the Invisible!

We are not supposed to simply glance momentarily at the Unseen and then stare back at our present adversities again. We aren't supposed to blink but fix our eyes and heart and mind and emotions and will totally on the Unseen—that which is not yet seen, but will be seen. There is more around us than what meets the eye. If something is fixed, it is not readily movable, it is rendered permanent, definite, not fluctuating or varying. It should be our permanent occupation to gaze at what we can't see.

What comes before this verse in context? “Therefore, we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” These verses are dynamite, loaded with powerful truth that we can apply to any suffering, trouble, affliction, pain, or adversity—even death. It's all temporary. Other translations say “seen for a time, brief and fleeting, here today, gone tomorrow.” The coming “weight of glory” is the permanent future state, deathless, everlasting, forever.

Matthew Henry's Commentary on verses 13-18 of 2 Corinthians chapter four: (the italics are mine)

"The grace of faith is an effectual remedy against fainting in times of trouble. They [the early Christians] knew that Christ was raised, and that his resurrection was an earnest and assurance of theirs. The hope of this resurrection will encourage in a suffering day, and set us above the fear of death.
"Also, their sufferings were for the advantage of the church, and to God's glory. The sufferings of Christ's ministers, [and all Christians] as well as their preaching and conversation,[behavior] are for the good of the church and the glory of God. The prospect of eternal life and happiness was their support and comfort. What sense was ready to pronounce heavy and long, grievous and tedious, faith perceived to be light and short, and but for a moment. 

"The weight of all temporal afflictions was lightness itself, while the glory to come was a substance, weighty, and lasting beyond description. If the apostle could call his heavy and long-continued trials light, and but for a moment, what must our trifling difficulties be! Faith enables to make this right judgment of things. There are unseen things, as well as things that are seen. And there is this vast difference between them; unseen things are eternal, seen things but temporal, or temporary only. Let us then look off from the things which are seen; let us cease to seek for worldly advantages, or to fear present distresses. Let us give diligence to make our future happiness sure.”

So what is it about “fix your eyes” that I don't understand? God tells me exactly what to focus on. I shouldn't be shifty-eyed. Like viewing the eye chart in the ophthalmologist’s exam room, He asks me to see how clearly I can read each line of 2 Corinthians 4:18. Then He expects me to put it into practice!

We can even fix our eyes on the Invisible, on things above, if we are blind or sight impaired to some degree! We perceive things in the supernatural through the eyes of  our spirit. For that we don't need human eyesight. It is a matter of my will to turn my inner eyes to God and to the eternal dimension in which He dwells. There is some analogy to a night vision device, a NVD. This is an optical instrument that allows images to be seen even in levels of light approaching total darkness. They are most often used by the military and law enforcement agencies. 
If I have difficulty seeing clearly because the darkness around me is too dense, or my pain and suffering and adversities tend to obscure my sight, the Holy Spirit is available to provide me with His precision NVD. David the Psalmist king fixed his spiritual eyes upon God in the dark of the night upon his bed--and God was there! It is simply up to me to turn my spiritual gaze upon Him, “...looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith...” (Hebrews 12:2). 

As the hymn written by Helen H. Lemmel invited us:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conquerors we are!

His Word shall not fail you, He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

No comments: