What do we choose to see and believe? Interview ten individuals who witness an automobile crash and you might get ten different accounts. While some might give a detailed report of what happened from their point of view, others who were on the opposite side of the street might have a totally different story. They might notice something that the others had not, merely because of their proximity and perspective. It would behoove those making an accident report to draw from all the information at hand rather than merely accepting just a couple witness testimonies. Similarly, as we grow in God we gain the benefit of perspective that allows us to assess a situation, or to appraise it with spiritual understanding as Paul states in I Corinthians 2:14-15. This is a multi-dimensional outlook regarding the world that is seen, and of equal or more importance, that one which is not.
When we were new born babes in Christ, our lives were relatively simple. We sensed the presence of Christ in our lives, joy was the hallmark of our day to day existence, and life was full of the peace of God. We believed that nothing could ever disrupt us from the sweet fellowship that we enjoyed with our Savior. However, as we matured in the Lord, we found Him strangely distant at times and we groped and searched for Him during times of desperate darkness. We may have thought that His hand would never hold us in that dear place we once enjoyed. In a very real sense, that is true. However, what became of that was instead a deeper and more lasting friendship then what could have ever been the case in our spiritual infancy. By searching for Him in the darkness, something had happened to our spiritual vision -- we had grown sensitive to the absence of His light and had learned to know that He was in the midst of the seeming darkness. Not only had we learned the joy of His light but now we were beginning to understand the joy of His seeming absence. The bride speaks about this lesson of maturity in the "night of the soul". In Song of Solomon 3:1-2 we read how the bride searches desperately for her bridegroom and quickly finds him. However, in Song of Solomon 5:6-7 we read about a similar separation but this time there is no quick reunion. In addition, we are told in verse 7 that the watchmen (metaphor for the Holy Spirit) wounded the bride in her distress. Now, why would God harm is beloved in this way? Simply as a reminder that the Lord chastens those whom He loves. He disciplines us as sons and daughters to cause us to see always from His perspective (Hebrews 12:6). He wants us to see Him with eyes of faith even when He does not seem to be present. From this relationship of trust, a river of love begins to grow wider and deeper in the believer's heart towards their Lord.
Once we begin to mature and to see as Jesus desires us to see, then we are allowed the privilege of leading and training others in like manner. Jesus told us to not to save souls or to win the heathen for the Lord, but to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). It is ALWAYS the job of the Holy Spirit to save souls through His conviction. He has been doing this most effectively for the past 2000 years. However, God will use us to preach the Gospel and souls will be saved, and then what? We are told to "disciple" which plainly means to bring the same "discipline" into these new babes in Christ which God has been working in and through us. We must afford them their time to walk joyously with God and then also to learn in maturity that God withdraws His presence to teach them to trust in Him. This "discipline" does not end with merely discerning God's presence in our lives and those whom we disciple. It is of upmost importance when we learn that we must be holy in all our behavior, to keep ourselves unstained from the filth of this world. (I Peter 1:15-16; James 1:27) This , beloved, is what will keep our spiritual eyesight clear and penetrating, able to discern between all good and evil. Just as Jesus told the church in Laodicea to purchase for themselves eye salve in order for them to see (Revelation 3:18), so must we also continually apply this godly balm to the eyes of our hearts through the discipline of holy living. For without holiness and the sanctification that comes through lives given to Him, we will be short-sighted and without God's perspective to live a life totally surrendered to Him. (Hebrews 12:14)
Without spiritual sight, how can we ever hope to believe that our perspective on anything is true and honest? If we cannot discern with our spiritual eyes, how can we believe that what we judge with our physical eyes is furthering God's kingdom here on earth? Paul stated in our lead verse that the things "... not seen are eternal". These are the things that we should all be earnestly desiring to see, beloved. And, we can see them in this lifetime. Jesus teaches us to see Him even when He is not easily seen. How much more does He want us to see by faith everything that He has given us in the spiritual realm? (Ephesians 1:3) As we train the eyes of our hearts to see Him who is not seen, and the eternal as though it was present, then we will be overwhelmingly conquerors in the temporal world which we do see with our physical eyes. Jesus poignantly stated in Matthew 6:22: The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. The eye will not betray what is within and what more importantly shines through the eyes of our heart. We must seek Him, believe He has given us everything unreservedly, and then walk His life out in faith. This will give us the truest perspective on life and wisdom to lead others to find the same.
Heavenly Father, we pray to see those things unseen, those things which are eternal. Most of all, we desire to see Jesus because in so doing we know that our sight will be perfectly adapted for not only this life but the one to come. We pray this in Jesus' Name, Amen!
Your Barefoot Servant,