A Daily Word from the Word for Wednesday, October 16, 2013
“While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:18
My New Spirit-Filled Life Bible wonderfully expounds on this perspective, which is God’s winning point of view: “we must clearly see temporary things in light of the eternal. Do not give up or be discouraged. Set your focus and faith on unseen and eternal things. See the present from the perspective of the future” (© 2002. Thomas Nelson Inc.).
We are to focus on the unseen which are eternal things; and not those temporary things that are evident. Further up in verse 16, Paul tells us “therefore, do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”
Our “outward man” is our temporal body, which breaks down and eventually dies; however, we are not to lose heart because our “inward man,” our spirit, is constantly being renewed and is eternal. This insight is important because of the meaning of the word “things” used as “seen” and “not seen.” The Greek word for both uses of “things” in this verse is agathos (pr. ag-ath-os), which means “benefit” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance). Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines “benefit” as “a useful aid.”
Sadly, many people place too much importance on those temporary things that benefit the flesh, which will die; and not enough importance on those eternal things which will benefit our everlasting spirit. Jesus instructed us to keep our perspective correct when he lamented “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:25-34).
The correct perspective is to look at the temporary things in light of the eternal things, as my opening paragraph states. If I gave out a thousand dollars, most folks would think that is a lot of money; however, if I then handed out a million dollars to the next group of people, now all of a sudden, you are looking at your thousand dollars from the perspective of that million dollars which is in your neighbor’s hands; and that thousand bucks doesn’t seem like a lot anymore. In fact, it might even look like a dollar! We need to put the appropriate value on these temporary (or temporal) things; and we do this by constantly viewing them in the light or from the perspective of those things which are eternal.
Money is not evil; and it bothers me when people get it wrong and preach that money is evil. It is not! God wants us to be prosperous in all areas of our lives (Jeremiah 29:11, 3 John 1:2). 1 Timothy 6:10 warns us that “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Timothy is not saying that money itself is evil; he is saying that the love of money is the root of all evil. If you love money more than God, it is a problem. Do you have money, or does money have you?
You know you love God more than money if, when He gives it to you in great measure, and then asked you to give it all way, you would do so cheerfully. The same is true for other temporal things: food, football, shopping, even exercise. Are these things more important in your life than God, family? If your answer is “no” then you have the correct perspective; otherwise, you need to re-adjust your focus.
If you had your heart set on a meatball sub with cheese (yes, one of my top choices), and you had your last ten dollars in your pocket while you were walking to your favorite authentic Italian eatery and licking your lips; but then God intercepted you and directed you to give your last ten dollars to the person standing on the corner, would you? Or would you pretend that you didn’t hear God giving you that instruction? “Oh the devil is a lie!” is what some of you would say, huh? My point is that there is nothing wrong with having a meatball sub with cheese; however, if it gets in the way of your obeying God, then you have a problem.
The Greek word for “look” as used in this verse is skopeo (pr. skop-eh-o) meaning “to consider, a goal, clothing.” Do you view the temporary things as means to a greater end, my brother? Are your goals the worldly things that will pass away, my sister? Or are your goals, your treasures, set in eternity “where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20)? Do you wear the clothing of this world, son of the Most High King? Or do you adorn yourself with the raiment of Heaven, daughter of Eternity?
Just as you would not allow sickness to clothe you, do not allow that which seems good to make you sick. Just as you should refuse to wear the yoke of lack, do not pick up that luster, which will lead you into lack.
I was watching the movie “Joyful Noise” a while ago (starring Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton © 2012. Gospel Truth Pictures), when Latifah’s character, Vi Rose Hill, said something very striking. She declared “there is always free cheese in the mousetrap; but trust me, the mice in there are not happy.”
This world is referred to as a “rat race” for a reason, my brothers and sisters. But there is hope. As long as we remain “of the world but not in the world” (Romans 12:2); and if we continue to strive to focus on the eternal rather than the temporal, then we will possess a high enough vantage point to see the cheese for what it really is, with eternity as our backdrop.
Father, thank You for giving us an eternal focus—Your Focus. Help us to better focus on and seek Your kingdom and Your righteousness, so that You will that add everything to our lives that we need (Matthew 6:33). Most Mindful God, let no blessing become a curse to us, because we keep the proper perspective on what You have given us. Thank you Father, that we keep our eye on You because You have your Hand on us. In Jesus Name, we thank You that we have Your Kingdom perspective. Amen and Amen.
Take action! Challenge your thinking! Choose to cast off a temporal focus and put on God’s eternal focus. Choose to adopt and maintain the Father’s perspective, which is the winning perspective. Choose to put your hope in the Lord so that you will “renew your strength and soar on wings like eagles; so that you will run and not grow weary, and walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31). And continue to fight the good fight of keeping your focus on the unseen; for God, Eternal Perspective, has already given you the victory!
If you have never received Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, I encourage you to do it today, right now, by saying this prayer out loud: “Jesus, forgive me for my sins. I am sorry. I truly desire to be saved and reconciled back to God, my Father, through You. I receive Your sinless Blood as payment in full for my sins—past, present, and future. I now call You my Lord and Savior, and invite You to live within my heart, and to permanently live within me. I make You Lord over me and over my life from this moment on. Amen.” Congratulations! You are now a child of God, made whole and made new, by the Blood of Jesus Christ!
God tells us that we are blessed to be a blessing (Genesis 12:2). Be a blessing to someone by sending them this word of encouragement. If God did not already put someone in your spirit and on your heart that needs to read this uplifting message from above, simply ask your Heavenly Father who to bless on today. Forward this message right now by email, facebook, or twitter.
Jesus is coming soon!
May God Bless you and keep you always.
With warmest regards,
And, in service of The Most High King,
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All references to Hebrew and Greek words and meanings, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance © 1990 by Thomas Nelson Publishing. All dictionary references are taken from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary © 2013, unless otherwise noted.