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Where to Look

Where you'll get the most help. 2 Corinthians 4.16-18

2 Corinthians 4 (6)

Pray Psalm 17.15.
As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.

Sing Psalm 17.15.
(Park Street: All You That Fear Jehovah’s Name)
But as for me, LORD, save and bless! Let me behold Your righteousness.
Your face in glory I would see, and thus forever blessèd be,
and thus forever blessèd be.

Read 2 Corinthians 4.1-18; meditate on verses 16-18.

1. What is happening to our outward person?

2. How can we be renewed in our inward person?

Paul endured a great deal of hardship throughout his ministry. He was never without affliction. How was he able to bear up under these and persevere? He tells us: By not focusing on his circumstances and the afflictions that were always present with him, but by “looking” to unseen things, setting his mind on things above, where Christ is seated in heavenly places (Col. 3.1-3).

Paul regarded his various afflictions as portending an eternal weight of glory, and he strove to enter that glory by focusing the eye of his heart on the blessed vision of Christ exalted in glory (Eph. 1.15-23). I think we can assume at least three things concerning this matter of “looking” on unseen things.

First, we must gain some sense of what those unseen things are, what their role is in the divine economy, and how they relate to us. For this, we will need to search the Scriptures; but we may also learn about such mysteries from the works of those who have glimpsed them and recorded their observations and experience. The more familiar we become with the landscape of unseen things, the more sustaining power we will derive from our times of looking upon them.

Second, we will need to devote some time for this discipline of “looking”. As this landscape is wondrously varied and infinitely beautiful, this should be an aspect of our spiritual disciplines to which we regularly submit, perhaps through study, meditation, solitude, singing, and the like.

Finally, we must carry this vision of unseen things as the backdrop or framework within which we live and move and have our being—the spiritual “screen saver” for our souls. Let everything we see and do each day cue us to consider the glory of God and of the unseen realm (Prov. 25.2). Let us be ready to give thanks and praise for every glimmer or ray of the unseen realm that falls across our path—in the beauty of creation, the kindness of a friend, the genius of some aspect of culture, and the manifold everyday blessings of the Lord.

Let songs of glory be in our hearts and on our lips. Let us encourage one another with testimonies and reports from our “visits” within the unseen realm. And let us refer every situation or task to the throne of Christ, always making a conscious effort to live “under the heavens” and not merely “under the sun”.

We need renewal and restoration every day, and the renewing of our souls occurs according to the pattern and template of the landscape of unseen things.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
We do not lose heart,
We gain determination.
Our outward person—our body—is perishing,
Our inward person—our spirit—is renewed daily.
Our momentary light affliction—troubles and sorrows—work for us
To usher in an eternal weight of glory—here and now and there and then.
This is exceedingly abundantly more than we could ever ask or think.
It is a gift of grace from the eternal, permanent, unseen God.
So we do not look or dwell on these temporary perishing things—the seen, but
We choose to look and dwell on those permanent things—the unseen eternal.
(2 Cor. 4.16-18)

“Though the fig tree may not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines;
though the labor of the olive may fail,
and the fields yield no food;
though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
and there be no herd in the stalls—yet I will rejoice in the L
I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Hab. 3.17, 18). Habakkuk did not lose heart.

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13.15). Job was determined to trust Him.

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers,
nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing,
shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8.38, 39).
Paul did not dwell on the temporary, only the eternal.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus
to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Eph. 3.20). We know the power and weight of His glory.

Look to the unseen—
unburdened of the weightless temporary we take on the magnitude of the eternal—
to experience the significance of His permanent, eternal, and one day, seen glory.

For reflection
1. How do you see yourself looking on the unseen things? What are you doing when you do?

2. How does looking on unseen things help us amid our various afflictions?

3. Whom will you encourage today to look on unseen things?

There are unseen things, as well as things that are seen. And there is this vast difference between them; unseen things are eternal, seen things but temporal, or temporary only. Let us then look off from the things which are seen; let us cease to seek for worldly advantages, or to fear present distresses. Let us give diligence to make our future happiness sure.
Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on 2 Corinthians 4.13-18

Pray Psalm 17.4-9.
Meditate on Jesus, exalted in glory. Claim the promise that this same Jesus is with you always. Ask the Lord to help you be continually mindful of Jesus today.

Sing Psalm 17.4-9.
(Park Street: All You That Fear Jehovah’s Name)
As for the deeds of sinful men, I will not walk those paths again.
My feet hold firm from first to last: Help me to walk Your righteous path,
help me to walk Your righteous path!

When I have called, You answered me, L
ORD; hear now my fervent, seeking word!
Let kindness flow by Your command. Keep and preserve me by Your Right Hand,
keep and preserve me by Your Right Hand.

Treasure me in Your holy eye; shelter me from a troubling sky.
Around me all my enemies eagerly would despoil me,
eagerly would despoil me.

T. M. and Susie Moore

Two books can help you see both the greatness and the smallness of God’s salvation. Such a Great Salvation and Small Stuff will show you how to think small, live big, and know the salvation and glory of God in all your daily life. You can learn more about these books and order your copies by clicking
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Support for Scriptorium comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalteravailable by 
clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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