as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. [2 corinthians 4:18]
it has been said that “whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” the peculiarity of the Christian lies in our ability to speak to that which for the rest of the world is inexpressible. for what a person can speak of corresponds directly with that person’s experience. the pagan person speaks only of temporal things because that is all that he can experience – any treatment of eternal things can be nothing more than speculatively projecting worldly things upon a faceless eternity. for the pagan, God remains outside the world.
quite unlike this, the Christian, believing in the manifestation of God in the individual of Christ *, is at that moment transferred out of temporality and into eternity. in a flash, the believer’s paradigm is completely overturned; the physical sight once relied upon in all matters of speaking and knowing is replaced by faith, and all that was formerly unknowable is illuminated by the light of Christ. now the Christian speaks and knows nothing but Christ (which is everything*), and this by faith.
the trial is immediately apparent. while enveloped in eternity, the Christian remains tethered to the world, and judged by the pagan according to the world – though the Christian cannot be understood in this way**. the Christian will either stand firmer in faith and become an outcast, or forgetting eternity, minimize Christ to another worldly consideration.
it is all too tempting, to look to temporal things (career, marriage, assets, culture…) as the means of Christian living. we have severely erred if we find ourselves trying to synthesize Christ with such temporal things; the intention of Christ is the overcoming of the world, not finding a proper relation to it. ***
still, our faith does not exempt us from facing the same worldly considerations that the pagan encounters. it is here that we must invoke this verse as a reminder; our primary task is not to navigate this life, but to keep faith. all else is not only secondary but can only be properly understood through faith – the victory over the world. ****
do not be deceived, there is no other way to live.
i encourage you to read isaiah chapter 26, meditate on it. fix your heart to Christ before going a step further today.
* colossians 1:15–20
** 1 corinthians 2:14
*** john 16:33
**** 1 john 5:4
~ graham bachman