Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Illusion of the seen

TODAY'S SPECIAL: 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:15

TO CHEW ON: "... we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18

You are no doubt familiar with optical illusions where your eyes see an object two ways. For example, there is a figure of a girl that rotates clockwise, and then counterclockwise. Or the black-and-white sketch (pictured) where your eye picks out a crone face with a hawk nose, or the profile of a young woman wearing a fancy hat.

Paul here is talking about the optical illusion of life, in that we can also view it two ways. There is the view that sees only the obvious, tangible, day-to-day stuff as real. And there is the view that sees the invisible things of eternity as real.

This eternal view is what we as followers of Jesus aspire to. It's the view that forgives one's enemies, is okay with being low instead of exalted, stores treasures in heaven, gives away one's coat to one's enemy, values and aspires to childlikeness (for lots more examples read Jesus' Sermon on the Mount—Matthew 5, 6,7).

Picking out the alternate picture in an optical illusion needs focus and concentration. So does living life from the perspective of eternity. As a sidebar article in my Bible explains it:

"We must learn that trials and difficulties will seem light and temporary when viewed from the perspective of the immeasurable glory that awaits us in eternity. We must learn to live by faith and not by what we can or cannot see with our natural eyes.... Set your focus and faith on unseen and eternal things. See the present from the perspective of the future. Look forward to God's great and eternal glory" - Leslyn Musch, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1627 (emphasis added).
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You that this life isn't all there is. Help me to see the things and people around me with an eternal perspective.

MORE: Christian vision
"Christian vision ... is an act of imaginative seeing that combines the insight of faith, which goes to the heart of things below the surface, and the foresight of faith, which soars beyond the present with the power of a possible future. This combining of the not-yet-combined is the secret of visionary faith. Vision and reality, word and fulfillment, present and future, situation and possibility, restlessness and reaching out, anger at what is wrong and an aim for what is better—whatever the contrast between the pair, visionary faith is out to close the gap" - Os Guinness, The Call, p. 177.

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