What would your life look like if your mind was solely focused on Christ and His ministry? How would your attitude change towards the circumstances you are facing? Would your heart be more at peace? How would you spend your time, and what would be on your mind?
The apostles are amazing examples to us of believers totally given to a life of ministry, loving God and loving others, and advancing His kingdom. Let’s learn from them.
Wednesday in the Word
Come with me as I walk through a passage of Scripture phrase by phrase, reviewing its context, interpreting, and offering an application. Some of us - including me - learn best by watching somebody else. That’s what I am inviting you to do today as I study through 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:
“16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
If you’ve got a little extra time right now, I invite you to pull out your Bible or fire up the Bible app on your phone and hop over to 2 Corinthians 4. Read through it, even.
Paul and his fellow missionaries had experienced more than their fair share of persecution and hardship during their years of ministry. It didn’t deter them. They kept their eye on the prize. In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul explains this to the Corinthian church.
It’s not about what we see and feel in the moment but the deeper and greater truths we know: Jesus Christ was crucified to give us life. Paul was dedicated to preaching this gospel even when some of his audience was unwilling to listen.
Come rain or shine, Paul would keep on preaching what He knew to be true. Why? For the sake of people such as the Corinthian church. They heard him preach, believed, and formed a church that was now able to continue sharing Jesus with the world.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”
It’s not about what is seen on the outside - possible trials and hardship - but what God is doing on the inside. In the midst of the trial, God is renewing us, teaching us, and growing our faith and dependence on Him.
Ladies, this should be encouraging. When our mind is set on Christ, we see trials as a learning opportunity, and, while the affliction itself is still painful, we are able to rejoice in what God is doing within us in the meantime.
It is so counter to everything the world knows. That makes sense. If you have never experienced the joy and peace only God can give through the Holy Spirit, you would think Christians are nuts. It may even seem like we are trivializing hardship or telling people to “just move on.” That’s not the intent at all. Rather, we acknowledge hardship but choose to fix our eyes on Jesus and His kingdom.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
What is Paul saying? All of the persecution and affliction was worth it in the end because people came to know Christ through his ministry.
When your focus is on spreading the gospel, seeing people come to know Christ and be changed through His power, you are more than willing to endure persecution along the way.
Not many of us are actually persecuted for our faith, but we may lose a friend, get a strange look, or be labeled something undesirable. Is it worth it? Is it worth not being liked by everyone to see someone come to a saving knowledge of Christ? I hope your answer is yes.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
How do we continue in our lives then? Keep on doing what you are, but switch your mindset. Focus on what is unseen: the things from above, the kingdom of God.
Rather than focusing on the trouble we experience in this physical world, we remind ourselves on what is happening on a higher level. God is working within me. Lost people are hearing the gospel and coming to know Jesus. Believers are growing in their faith. Our affliction lasts for a little while, but these benefits have eternal value. What could be better and more important than that?
So tell me, how would your life change if you lived with this perspective of rejoicing in what God is doing in you and in others through you? Share your thoughts below. Who knows who you may encourage and challenge with your input?!