Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3518

Jump Start # 3518

2 Corinthians 4:18 “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

  In this wonderful section of the letter to the Corinthians, we come upon a series of contrasts: outer man and inner man; decaying and being renewed; momentary and eternal; light affliction and weight of glory; visible and invisible. Through all of this and continuing on in the next chapter, the apostle shows us that the outside and the inside are moving in to different directions. The outside is falling apart. The inside is getting better every day. The outside groans, the inside longs for that heavenly home.

  Into the next chapter, the apostle uses the illustration of a house and a tent. The tent is temporary, the house if forever. And, we can appreciate this in our modern times. The outside can be cold, but inside the house, can be nice and warm. The outside does not have to be the temperature of the inside. As we age, we hurt, we slow down, we forget, but our faith in the Lord can be the strongest it has ever been. This reminds us that we may not feel good physically, but we can be strong and cheerful in our soul because of Jesus.

  Our verse begins with a declaration, “we look not at the things which are seen.” The apostle is not talking about literally. We live in a visual world. Our eyesight is necessary to function. Looking at carries the idea of importance, focusing upon, value. Our lives are not defined by what we see. Life is much more than what we see.

  There are some reasons for this:

  First, from the passage, what we see doesn’t last. The verse states, it is “temporal.” We’d say temporary. It’s not going to be around very long. Peter tells us that the earth and it’s works will burn up one day. As I write this, I see books lining my shelves, all kinds of collectables on my desk, a jar of M & Ms, framed pictures, plants and things that are important to me. I have them just the way I want them. But one day, all these things are gone. These things are not what is important. We can put too much emphasis upon the outside and neglect the inside. This is true in our appearance in contrast to our character. The outside can look beautiful and the inside can be a mess. Such was our Lord’s descriptions of the Pharisees. Wash cup on the outside and dirty on the inside. White washed tomb on the outside and decaying on the inside.

  Second, the things which are seen are not satisfying. Like junk food, stuff gives us an instant joy, but it doesn’t last and it doesn’t fill the soul. Faith does. Hope does. God does. Have you noticed at funerals, we don’t read the sports page or the financial page. We don’t read from glamor magazines. We want the Bible read. Even to those who had no time for the Bible in their life, the family wants the Bible at the funeral. Why? We know. At the funeral, it doesn’t matter who won the ball game. At the funeral, it doesn’t matter what stocks are doing. At the funeral, who is in what movie doesn’t matter. The eternal is all that matters. Souls. God. Salvation. Jesus.

  Third, the visible is not what pleases God. So, you wash your car every week. So, your yard is the picture of the neighborhood. So, your kid has a stack of trophies. So, you have a series of letters that follows your name. So, you can speak two languages. So, you’ve traveled the seven seas. Do you think that impresses God? One can do those things and have a cold heart. One can do those things and close his eyes to the Lord. One can do those things and miss what is truly important, walking with the Lord, being righteous, having the heart of a servant.

  We live in a visible world. Yet, as our verse reminds us, we must look to the invisible. We must set our eyes upon Jesus. It is difficult when the outer man decays. It is more difficult when the inner man is decaying.

  What are you looking at? What are you seeing each day?