“Indeed, everything is for your benefit, so that grace, extended through more and more people, may cause thanksgiving to increase to God’s glory. Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (HCSB) 2 Corinthians 4:15-18
Corinth was an important trade city of ancient Greece. Paul ministered there during his second and third missionary journeys. This well traveled pagan city was known for its many worldly activities and the believers in the Corinthian church were well acquainted with them. Paul urged them to stop their worldly ways for the sake of the gospel and in return, they would experience joy that would last for eternity. They would not, however, be exempt them from the challenges that living this life could bring. Paul wrote 2 Corinthians 4:15-18 to encourage the young Christians to view life here on earth from an eternal perspective.
Sometimes the troubles of life can seem discouraging, with very little joy. Be encouraged! They will not last because we will one day be with the Father in heaven. That is why Paul said “do not give up” and focus on what is eternal. Having a focus on what is not seen requires faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.” (HCSB) You must have faith to have an eternal perspective. So, what does it mean to have an eternal perspective? It means having hope of an everlasting life with Jesus in heaven and seeking for the Father’s will to be done in your life for His glory not yours – knowing that your life is for a greater purpose.
It is very easy to lose focus on what is eternal. Daily we live our busy lives trying to get everything done on our list. We set goals to achieve a successful and happy life. When our striving to achieve our goals replaces our eternal perspective, life can become tough, even unbearable. Unexpected bills, the unfriendly neighbor, the car that breaks down again, the intense pressure at work and the negativity all around – all can be so overwhelming. Whether the trouble is big or small, it is easy to lose heart and get discouraged when we focus on what we see. There is one thing we can be assured of – what we see here won’t last.
Are you daily living your life with an eternal perspective? Stay focused, and when trouble does come your way, have faith that the hardship is only temporary and God is with you to carry you through it. Even if it is still hard, just know that your experience can help someone else through their tough time. You can be renewed with joy in seeing the Holy Spirit at work in someone else’ life and God will receive the glory. 2 Corinthians 1:4 says, “He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God (HCSB).” You have a greater purpose here on earth – to spread God’s love to others. Don’t get lost in the temporary things in life. Stay focused on the eternal and don’t give up hope.
By Carol Jones