2 Cor.4:16 – 18 – So no wonder we don’t give up. For even though our outer person gradually wears out, our inner being is renewed every single day. We view our slight, short-lived troubles in the light of eternity. We see our difficulties as the substance that produces for us an eternal, weighty glory far beyond all comparison, because we don’t focus our attention on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but the unseen realm is eternal.
This passage is one of those that cause a mixed reaction in most of us. Paul is connecting the dots between trials and suffering with the manifestation of anointing and glory. Paul would have to be the greatest source for this teaching in light of the persecution he endured throughout his ministry. If you read carefully through today’s passage you will see Paul’s connection between suffering and glory. Paul said the key was the focus of our attention. The circumstances we are facing are screaming for our attention. Behind the scenes is Jesus and all He makes available to us. Set your gaze, set your affections, on Christ in the midst of your affliction. Those two things connected together seem to release the amazing power of God. Here is how the Expositor’s Commentary describes this.
“But this production of glory was by no means automatic. Only as attention was focused on what was unseen did suffering lead to glory. Behind the contrast between “what is seen” and “what is unseen” is the Pauline tension between the “already” and the “not yet”, the contrast between what is now seen by mortals and what is as yet hidden from mortal gaze. Paul affirms that his affections are set “on things above”, on lasting realities as yet unseen, on the age to come that is present in promises and blessings still to be fully realized.”
Not many in today’s Christian circles focus on things to come, in other words the heavenly realm. Many have their focus limited to what blessings we can experience in this life. When times of trial comes (I’m thinking Katrina or the Corona Pandemic) if your focus is on blessing in this world only you will easily slip into fear or depression. Turn your gaze onto Jesus and His heavenly kingdom and all of that changes. You will find yourself satisfied and caught up in the unveiling of His glory.