So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:18
What are you hoping in? What are you really hoping in? You see, I know the right answer to this question, of course, is "God," but if I'm honest, sometimes I find myself hoping in other things besides God. I find myself trusting in things that do not have eternal value. Can you relate? Do you find yourself hoping in other things besides God? Maybe you find yourself placing your hope in things such as another relationship, the approval of people, the newest piece of technology, or financial success. As we consider the things that we may be tempted to place our hope in, we must consider that the truth is that these things will fade away. They may bring us temporary happiness, but they will not satisfy our deepest need that only God can fulfill.
In 2 Corinthians 4, the apostle Paul reminds the church of Corinth of the hope they have for their future. Their lives may seem difficult, and their circumstances may be different than they hoped, but Paul reminds the church in Corinth that one day, Jesus will return. When Jesus returns, everything on this earth that is temporary will fade away, and the eternal things such as God and His kingdom will remain. Because of this, Paul calls the church in Corinth to take their eyes off of the temporary things of the world and focus on matters of eternity that will never fade away. In other words, these verses are a reminder to the church of Corinth (and us) to stop hoping in earthly, temporary things, and to place their hope in eternal things instead.
I'm not sure what you are facing today, but do you find yourself hoping in other things today? Maybe you think that if you just reach that accomplishment in your career, your life will be perfect. Perhaps you believe finding a spouse will bring you the fulfillment you have been looking for. Maybe you are convinced that if you lose that last ten pounds, you will finally have your life together. Paul teaches in 2 Corinthians 4 that there is a better way for us! You see, God and His kingdom are the only true sources of hope that will last. He will never let us down.
What if 2020 was the year we decided to let go of our false sources of hope and place every ounce of our hope in God? Image the peace and confidence we would have as our hope remained unshakable, despite our circumstances, because we know that God and His kingdom will last forever. My friend, decide today to place your hope in God. You will never be disappointed when you hope in Him.
Will you choose to place your hope in God, the One who will never let you down? Spend time today journaling a prayer to God. As you journal, confess that you have placed your hope in other things of this world besides Him. Ask Him for forgiveness and commit to hoping in Him this year rather than the temporary things of this world. Ask Him to help you as you strive to hope in Him in 2020 and beyond.
Read 2 Corinthians 4:1-18 (NLT)
Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.
If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.
But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.