Monday, October 20, 2014

 

Do Not Lose Heart

The news headlines these days are downright depressing. Ebola outbreaks, hurricanes, famine, wars, threats of war, rogue nations with nuclear weapons, growing hatred for the Jews worldwide, expanding terrorism that knows no boundaries, the crumbling moral foundation of our nation, leaders that fail to lead, a growing debt that threatens to cripple our nation and our ability to respond to danger, and cancer that seems to be impacting friends at a younger and younger age.

The answer isn’t just turning off the news reports or the Internet (although taking a break from the 24-7 news cycle can be good). The answer is developing a different perspective or paradigm about what all this bad news means.

In my Bible reading this week I read a series of verses that impacted me in regard to my outlook when reading all of this bad news. Here it is: 2 Corinthians 4:16–18: “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 what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Let’s chew on that text for a while. Paul’s God-inspired words still have meaning for us today.
First off, he tells us: “do not lose heart.” The news is depressing much of the time and reading all of the bad news can get you down. Part of the reason it is depressing is because we feel helpless to do anything about it. But still, we need the reminder: “do not lose heart.”

Then Paul tells why we should 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.”

Paul makes the assertion here that inward renewal overcomes the outward destruction and ultimately overcomes even death itself.  Seen in the perspective of eternity, the Christian’s difficulties whatever they may be, diminish in importance. By comparison the eternal glory is far greater than all the suffering one may face in this life.

Paul puts it on a personal level for those who are saved and have Jesus as their personal savior. But the same words could also be applied to our fallen world.

Then Paul delivers the information we need to explain what we can do and inspire us to change: “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.”

You see, we often have our eyes fixed on what is seen: Ebola outbreaks, hurricanes, famine, wars, threats of war, rogue nations with nuclear weapons, growing hatred for the Jews worldwide, expanding terrorism that knows no boundaries, the crumbling moral foundation of our nation, leaders that fail to lead, a growing debt that threatens to cripple our nation and our ability to respond to danger, and cancer that seems to be impacting friends at a younger and younger age. You get the idea.

In focusing on the things that are seen we end up focusing on the temporary things of life.
Instead, Paul tells us to change our focus to the things that are unseen yet eternal. We are to focus on the spiritual and on God’s kingdom.

Know what else is neat about focusing on the things that are unseen yet eternal? We tend to talk about the things we are focused on! So change your focus and go tell someone about God’s kingdom and what must be done to enter it.


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