|April 25, 2007
A long, thin line
by Jon Walker
«We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen. The things which are seen are temporal and the things which are not seen are eternal.» (1 Corinthians 4:18 NIV)
When life begins to squeeze us, what we truly believe is revealed through our attitudes and actions.
And, if the truth be told, most of us live by sight more than by the hope and certainty of our faith. It’s as if there were a long, thin line threaded throughout the realm of reality that divides the seen, the temporal, the things surrounding us, from the unseen and eternal. Shoved by our circumstances, we become distracted from the eternal and focus below the line – on those circumstances.
But God tells us repeatedly that we’re out of focus when we’re looking below the line. As Christians, our focus should be above, on the unseen, eternal kingdom of God. That doesn’t mean we should deny or repress what we see happening around us, but we must also be led by the Holy Spirit to look beyond the seen and temporal into the unseen and eternal.
You can see references to this line throughout the New Testament. As people approached Jesus, talking about their circumstances, he would say: «You’re looking for bread, but I am the living bread. If you eat of me, you’ll never go hungry again. You’re looking for a drink of water, but I am living water. If you drink from me, you’ll never thirst again.»
We can’t trust what we see, and when we’re focused below the line, we become trapped into thinking that what we see is truth. We become prisoners to our perceptions. Time and time again we see Jesus moving the focus from the seen to the unseen, from the temporal (the temporary!) to the eternal. He knew that for those who walk by faith, appearances are never the ultimate reality.
Are there parts of your life that have you discouraged or depressed, that have you wondering where God isí Consider this gentle reminder that God is present, even in the midst of your confusion and pain. He’s tapping you on the shoulder, reminding you to look up beyond the horizon into eternity.
· You can’t trust everything you see – God, Jesus, and heaven are reality, even if they are unseen for now. The things we see are temporary; the things we do not see are eternal. (1 Corinthians 4:18 NIV)
· Put life in perspective – Realize that your emotions will fail you, and stop allowing them lead you. When your perceptions begin to take you down a depressing path, challenge them. Could there be another way to see? To feel?
· When you become discouraged – Stop and ask God, «Am I seeing this situation through your eyes, or my own?» The Message paraphrase renders Colossians 3:2 this way: «Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ – that's where the action is. See things from his perspective.»
© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.