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, (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV).
My mother once told me this was her favorite Bible verse. She lived her life in total service to our family and the Lord and was one of the most selfless people I’ve ever known. What keeps a person like that going—through good and bad times, health and sickness, triumph and tragedy?
The Apostle Paul’s words to the church in Corinth urged the members to fix their eyes on the invisible, unseen Kingdom of God and their eternal home, not on the physical world they occupied where turmoil and trouble existed. The church members were arguing over their spiritual superiority and suing each other in public courts. They were involved in sexual sins and enjoyed the communion wine and bread a little too much. In short, they were fixing their eyes on the wrong world and losing heart as a result.
It’s all about what we’re looking at, and Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV) explains further…Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
When we fix our eyes on something, we stare at it; we gaze upon it for several seconds or minutes. In 2 Corinthians 4:18, “fix” means to look at and consider. It implies mental consideration. In the second verse (Hebrews 12:2), where we are encouraged to “fix our eyes on Jesus,” the word “fix” means to look away from one thing so as to see another; to concentrate the gaze upon. Hebrews 12:1 encourages us to throw off the sin that entangles us. We look away from sin; we look to Jesus. A lot--not just when we’re in a tight spot and need the Lord’s help immediately. The more we fix our eyes on Jesus, the less we will want to entertain sinful patterns.
Similarly, Paul’s words teach us to look away from the seen world and look to the unseen world. But don’t just give the unseen world a casual glance while singing a worship song at church. Gaze at it, mentally consider it—fix your eyes on it. Again, the more you fix your eyes on the unseen world, the more your “light and momentary troubles” fade into the background, and a new hope-filled perspective begins to form.
Years ago, a family was attending a Bible study my husband led. The father was a chain smoker, and his young son asked his mother, “When will Daddy stop smoking?” Wisdom came in her answer as she quietly said, “When he loves Jesus more than cigarettes.” It was simply a matter of what he was fixing his eyes on—Jesus or self—seen world or unseen?
The beautiful thing about all this talk of “fixing” is that power and strength are released to us when we fix our gaze on Christ and His unseen Kingdom. It is nearly impossible to lose heart about things that matter to the Lord when we daily think of Him and our future with Him. It’s like premium gasoline in our tanks!
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT).
Lord, we declare that fixing our eyes on You and Your Kingdom can and will bring hope and change in our lives this very day!
©2022, Chris Werre