2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV) Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since that is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
I am a creature of habit. Driven by routine and scheduling that once was required to manage our large family that has not subsided as our nest is emptied. The recent weather that impacted our community has somehow managed to saturate my life in chaos. Our family is blessed. The storm did not destroy our property. We were without power for only a few days. Internet service is still not restored. The kids have been out of school. I have not been able to work for about a week. Our Sunday worship service was cancelled. I am really not sure what day of the week it is. The inconvenience has been minimal but even the smallest interruption in our lives can distract us from our purpose. The “light and momentary” troubles are magnified by our unwillingness to be uncomfortable and out of control. Oh my, that hit a nerve. Could it be that my frustration is not in the events of the past several days, but rather the revelation that reverberates through this life disruption that I am not in control?
To fix our eyes on the unseen rather than the things we can see sounds so noble and righteous but reality reminds us that is really much harder than one might think. How do we not look at the “light and momentary” or not-so light and momentary troubles that impact our life? How do I keep my eyes completely fixed on the unseen reality of faith and keep my heart trusting God in every situation? To do so can feel like driving a car on our way to a destination and then suddenly throwing up our hands and closing our eyes asking the Lord to get us there. Oh how I know that Jesus hopes that one day this will be the case, not so much in the natural, but definitely spiritually. The day when the circumstances and conditions of our natural life no longer effect our ability to believe and see the Kingdom of God continuing our journey to reach it.
John 16:33 (NIV) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!
I love Jesus so much! He did not mix His Words or deceive us by omitting important details along the way. He said, “In this world, you will have trouble.” It just doesn’t get any plainer than that. You will have trials. You will have temptations. You will have trouble. BUT…oh the “buts”. BUT TAKE HEART! I have overcome the world. Victory belongs to me today as long as I do not get wrapped up in civilian affairs. Take heart! Jesus is giving us the heart to know what pleases Him, to do what is called for, and to overcome in every situation. He says, “Take heart!” Here it is. Take it.
Okay, I hear you. It’s all fun and games until the trouble comes. Trouble calls for realism. You are absolutely right. Do not stick your head in the sand like an ostrich at the first sign of trouble. Put your head in the Word of God that delineates your victory. It says clearly that in our weakness, His Grace is sufficient. It also tells me that greater is He who lives in me than he that is in the world. Now I could go on and on with these power verses but to those who choose residency in “reality” they are no good. These are promises for those who walk by faith and not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:6-9 (NIV) Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
Faith is not really worth a whole lot to us until faith becomes a reality. Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1) When what I see begins to overshadow what I believe, it moves me from momentary and temporary thinking to disappointment and discouragement based on doubt and disbelief. We must always be confident that God’s Word and His Will are fully operational in our everyday life to transition from ordinary life to extraordinary supernatural living for the Kingdom of God and not the these trials and troubles. The things in life that compromise our comfort, inconvenience us by disrupting our routine, ail our bodies, and disrupt our soul are all the stirrings of God allowed to keep us from digging into reality and remaining faithful until the end.
Every day it is important to “live by faith, not by sight.” This is a conditioning of the mind, soul and body to believe the Word of God. To trust the Will of God. To walk in the Way of God. It is to live for the Kingdom even when it is not evident in what we see but is the basis of what we know to be true in our life. I must live by faith in every situation. When our choices are based on the reality around us rather than the God in us – we have momentarily forgotten where our true residency resides.
Psalm 84:5-7 (NIV) Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rain also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
Have the “momentary and light” trials, troubles or temptations of life drawn you from faith to fear? Has the burden of life moved you from eternal thinking to internal disappointment or discouragement? The Lord says to “take heart” today. You are a Child of God. You are a resident of the Kingdom of God with a place in Heaven. Live like it today by choosing faith over the facts you are presented. Release the controls and let Jesus have His Way and Will in your life. It is time to stop calling yourself a realist who believes only in what you see rather than knowing what you believe. To walk by sight and not by faith limits our life to the conditions around us and consequences of choice rather than fathomless grace. It is in human weakness that we gain all of Christ’s Strength – it is that moment when His Grace is enough.
God’s Will for your life and mine is that we live from “strength to strength”. Strength is found in the Grace of God subject to our faith, trust and surrender to Jesus Christ. He is our Strength. The Lord told us that when trouble comes that we can take heart. There is a credit card commercial that says, “What’s in your wallet?” Perhaps, Jesus is asking what’s in your heart? Our heart is where are treasure is kept. Adversity reveals its contents under pressure or when tested by fire. The attitude and actions that are the aroma of our life during times of hardship indicate the content of our sacrifice. A heart that does not believe will quickly resort to human tactics and survival methods based on worldly experience rather than a godly one.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.” (Psalm 28:7) Sometimes we just need a little reminder. When my children were small and in need of my instruction or encouragement. I would often get down on their level and kneel down on the floor. I would then ask them to look at me. Sometimes, they would turn around quickly because they knew once I got their attention they could go back to what they were doing. I would not continue until they were looking at my face. I wonder if the Lord is like that with us. Does Jesus stand in front of us while we are looking back at the troubles and trials of life? Does He say our name until we finally turn around again? Is my unwillingness or inability to walk by faith and not by sight limiting the potential, outcomes and victory in life?
More than one time the Lord has asked me in an audible yet still small voice, do you trust me? It seems like these are the moments that I realize I have let my eyes wander from Him to my circumstances. I always say, “Yes Lord, I trust you!” However, from that point on it is up to me if I will make faith my reality and take heart or remain in disbelief, doubt and discouragement. See Jesus already won the victory. He already handed me the Keys to His Kingdom. He gave me a measure of faith to work with and a map to guide the way during this journey called life. I am equipped with everything I need to fulfill my purpose and enough grace for every time I mess up along the way. It is up to me whether I choose to make faith my reality or not.
The psalmist shared it like this in Psalm 73:23-26. “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take in into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Take heart! Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. He resides in you making you a resident of His Kingdom forever. His Kingdom is powerful and strong. It will prevail when everything we can see today is gone. Our body is literally dying from the moment we are born. Our soul will live forever. We must concentrate and focus on making our soul strong and take heart making our faith a reality every day. We are victorious overcomers who hide a “temporary residents” in this world. So, take heart!
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NIV) May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His Grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.