We live by faith not by sight.
We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done in the body, whether good or bad. (verses 7-10)
“So we make it our goal to please him.”
I’ve been asking the Lord lately, “What is my assignment for this next season of life?” Although not giving me specifics, this phrase is the answer.
It implies for me a sharp refocus of perspective. “We live by faith not by sight.” Paul is drawing on what he said at the end of the last chapter: “we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen” (2 Cor 4:18). The point is, when we are here in the body we are “away from the Lord” – we are not yet in that heavenly position of face-to-face relationship. Yet, we are to live as if we were. We are to draw his presence into each and every moment. Even though we can’t yet see him, “we make it our goal to please him.”
I’ve got a somewhat lame illustration, but it rings true for me. In this past COVID-season when we weren’t able to physically meet together as a church for a period of time, we live-streamed our services so the congregation could watch at home. As a result, it was an entirely different experience preaching on Sunday mornings since I was facing a largely empty room with vacant seats staring back at me. That’s what was seen. But it wasn’t the reality. I was fully aware that I wasn’t just speaking into the air, but actually communicating, across cyberspace, with an unseen gathering. If I had lost sight of that reality, I wouldn’t have engaged with my task.
That’s the lesson for me from this scripture, right here, right now. Don’t lose sight of what is unseen. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Although currently “away from the Lord,” live as if you were in the very throne room of heaven, face-to-face with the Lord of Glory. Be sobered by the reality that every moment counts, each thought and action is under his fatherly gaze, both the good and the bad. Know that this moment – and the next and the next – will be recalled at the judgement seat of Christ. So live that reality now.
Make it your goal to please him.
Lord, I receive the assignment. Clearly, it’s beyond my own ability. Strengthen me with power by your Spirit in my inner being, so that you may dwell in my heart through faith, and I live in your presence.
Reflect: Think through your day. What actions or activities will you engage in today that will warm the Lord’s heart, causing him to smile with pleasure? What steps do you need to take to carry these out?