The Encouraging Word with Pastor Paul Trimble October 16, 2019
I want to encourage you today with a few verses from the Word of God (The Bible).
“It’s all falling apart. I can’t go on” That is the thought that has paralyzed me at times. A big financial bill that I was not expecting. A word from a doctor. Some crisis at work. And, even a terrible physical pain. You name it. Concerns creep up on us or come at us all at once. And, it’s in those moments, our minds reeling, we think those dark thoughts, “Just give up”. It could be to give up on a friendship, a marriage, a job, a church or even the will to live.
The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.”(CSB)
That is a big claim. Notice that Paul admits, “Even though our outer person is being destroyed.” It’s not that those difficult and scary things we face are not real, they are. Just the ordinary wear and tear of life will make us old, but Paul had been shipwrecked, beaten up and even stoned and left for dead. If anyone could lose hope, it was Paul. The thing I want to encourage you with is what the Apostle Paul is pointing out. And, that is another truth is also working in us. And it's in this truth where we find life. So even if the world, our bodies and our checkbook are falling apart on the outside, there is an inside part of us that if we are a Christ Follower, we are being “renewed day by day.” That is a promise to hang on to.
In Lamentations 3:22-23, It says, “Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!” (CSB) Every day, every morning, we are being made new on the inside. New mercies are given to us. Praise God! That is good news. I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have hung on to those words of hope.
You might ask, “How does that help me here and now in the midst of my problem?” What Paul is telling us is that we must have a new focus in life, something to set our eyes on. But, he is not talking about our physical eyes, but rather what some have called, “The eyes of our heart.” The core, the real person inside of us. When the Bible talks about the heart of a person, it is not talking about the beating organ in our chest. It is talking about the center of us; our thoughts, emotions, where our spirit resides. When we “look” with our heart we can acknowledge that we are falling apart: our bodies, this country, even our world. But, that’s not what we focus on. Paul is telling us, to not focus with our physical eyes but instead focus with the eyes of our heart, the inner person the real us being made new. So how do you change your focus?
Paul encourages us in verse 17 of 2 Corinthians 4 with the admonition, “For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.” (CSB) Let those words sink in for just a moment, “our momentary light affliction.” Those cares of life don’t seem momentary and light, but Paul is telling us that they are light when we compare them to what they are producing in us. And, that is the “absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory”.
Think through those words, “absolutely incomparable”. It means you cannot compare it to anything we now face or even understand. What is funny is that Paul goes ahead and compares our situation right now with the “eternal weight of glory.” But, that’s the point. The two are incomparable when we compare them! Paul is not saying what we face is not important or easy, but that we should be encouraged because in comparison the stuff now is short and easy. Even better, what we are facing, is producing something of much higher value and worth that we will possess later on. We are encouraged, because the difficulties we are facing here in life, be it physical or financial or relational, are “producing for us.” They are working for us. In other words, life’s struggles for a Christian have an eternal purpose. Praise God!
When we compare eternity to the problems now, the worries of now begin to have less toll on us, they have less weight on us.
Think of it like this: as a Believer and Follower of Christ Jesus, the life we are now living is being translated into a new life, both now on our inside, spiritually, and also for eternity. Something real and weighty is being produced for us that we can enjoy for all eternity. Paul describes it as a “weight of glory.” We can translate that Greek word for “weight” as “a heavy mass.” A heavy mass of glory is being produced in Heaven as we walk through the sufferings of life now. And, although we don’t know exactly what that means, what we do know is that it is good and that we will be able to enjoy it for all eternity.
When we compare eternity to the problems now, the worries of now begin to have less toll on us, they have less weight on us. That doesn’t mean that the things right now, hurt any less, but it can mean that we don’t have to focus on them. In fact, that’s the secret that Paul gives us in verse 18 of 2 Corinthians 4. “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.” (CSB) Isn’t that interesting? Paul is telling us to take our eyes off what can be seen, the physical, and put our focus on what unseen, the spiritual.
It’s all in the focus. Where are the eyes of your heart focused right now? Don’t miss this. The way to not worry and to not give up is not to change what we feel, but to change our focus. Paul is asking us to change our focus. To put the eyes of our heart clearly on Jesus, Heaven and eternity. Once we do, our feelings will begin to change.
To let one’s focus go, means to still see something but not its details. We let it go out of focus. You still see it but it’s fuzzy, less clear. And, then to refocus on the details of the new thing. To focus on the details of eternity means we have to look where eternity can be seen and that is in the pages of God’s word, the Bible. Letting our physical and spiritual eyes take in the words and understand them, believe them and act on them. That’s what it means to focus on Jesus, Heaven and eternity.