This morning we continue our series entitled, “Refined Focus”, with an emphasis on “Focusing on God’s Finished Work”. For the last few days we have looked at Ecclesiastes 3:15. Yesterday we looked at it coupled with Hebrews 12:1-3. Today I want us to look at it coupled with 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
2 Corinthians 4 is an amazing passage. I recommend you read the entire chapter in the Easy to Read Version. In it you can see how Paul truly understood what the Lord said through Solomon. Paul was persuaded of the future God planned for him and he was able to endure and overcome tremendous challenges because of it. Paul was so persuaded by the call on his life that he refused to be dissuaded by imprisonments, beatings, lashings and even shipwrecks. Paul was determined to live-out the future God planned for him before the world began. This is how Paul closes this amazing chapter. He said:
“That is why we never give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day. We have small troubles for awhile now, but these troubles are helping us gain an eternal glory. That eternal glory is much greater than our troubles. So we think about what we cannot see, not what we see. What we see lasts only a short time, and what we cannot see will last forever.” (2 Cor 4:16-18 ERV)
There is so much in that passage that I could teach on it for days. But I want to tie it back to Ecclesiastes 3:15. So let’s read Ecclesiastes 3:15 and then get into the message. The Bible says, “That which is has already been, and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by [so that history repeats itself].”
So what does this mean to you today? A few things.
1. Paul taught us to spend time thinking about and literally seeing (in the Spirit) things we cannot see with our natural eyes.
2. The things Paul said God can enable us to “see” are things that cannot be seen in this world; cannot be seen in the natural. But they are no less real. Actually, Paul puts more emphasis on what you can see in the Spirit than what you can see in the natural. Paul teaches us that what you can see in the Spirit is permanent, while what you can see in the natural is subject to change.
3. What is it that God can enable you to “see” in the Spirit that you cannot see with your natural eyes? It is nothing less than what He already planned before the world began. When God reveals something to you in the Spirit, He is revealing His plans and purposes. He is revealing what has not happened yet. He does this so you can live your life in the present informed and influenced by the things to come. This is how God literally calls you into your future from your present.
4. Here’s a key point: I can only reveal something that is already there! When God reveals TO you what was previously concealed FROM you, He is revealing is already set. If He had not planned it, if it were not already set, if it were not already done (in eternity), He could not reveal it (in time).
5. When you receive revelation from God concerning His purpose for your life and you are able to SEE things you are destined to do (that have not happened yet), you have a completely different perspective of present-day challenges.
6. When you know you are walking in God’s divine purpose, the challenges you face in the process of becoming the man/woman you are called to be PALE in comparison to the glory you know will be revealed in, with and through you.
7. The Bible tells us to spend time thinking about, pondering, considering, meditating, the things we cannot see with our natural eyes. When you meditate what God has revealed to you about your future you approach present-day challenges with a focus on the eternal. This enables you to REST in God’s finished work, no matter what you are facing day-to-day.
We will stop here for today. I have much more to say about this.
Closing Confession: Father, this is a season of refined focus for me. I have brought my life into focus in 2016. My focus is now on the eternal. My focus is now on Your Finished Work. My focus is now on Your plans and purposes. I spend time thinking about, pondering, considering and meditating what You enable me to see in the Spirit. What I see in the Spirit is more real to me than what I see every day. What I see in the natural is temporary; it is subject to change. But what You reveal to me about my future is not subject to change. You planned it and it shall come to pass. So I face present-day challenges from the perspective of the eternal. My eternal focus empowers me to overcome every obstacle and emboldens me as I face each day! I declare this by faith! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.