Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
Why was Paul not losing heart in spite of significant persecution and difficult circumstances? Because the Gospel was accomplishing its purpose! People were experiencing the hope of salvation and the power of the resurrection. God was receiving worship from these people. Focusing on this encouraged Paul, renewing him day by day, in spite of trouble.
The power of focus is amazing. With the success of the Gospel in view Paul described his troubles as ‘light and momentary.’ What’s more is that these troubles were achieving for him ‘an eternal glory that far outweighs them all’ (vs. 17). The troubles have weight, but compared to eternal glory they are a feather!
It’s hard for me to not focus on the difficulties sometimes… they’re difficult! They’re weighty. They need to not be what I focus on, however. When I do they can sink me pretty quickly! To effectively deal with troubles I need to not focus on them. Do I understand how counter-intuitive that is? This does not come naturally to me. My default in working through trouble is to zero-in on it and, with great tenaciousness, solve the problem. When the trouble is eliminated it loses its weightiness. The problem is that before the difficulty is solved, there are a couple more to take its place! I’m never free of the burden. It is constant and increasing…
The way to lift the weightiness is by shifting my focus away from the trouble.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
When temporary things are seen for what they are – temporary – they lose weight. They become light and momentary troubles. Fixing my eyes on what’s eternal will renew me inwardly everyday, regardless of what’s happening outwardly.
Where am I fixing my eyes?
Father, You are Eternal God! You are reality far more than what I can see. When all that I see is melted away to nothing, You will remain! Help me to fix my eyes on You this day. Renew my heart with the truth of You! Revive my spirit with the power and glory of Your Gospel… and may every trouble be seen through the filter of Your glory! I have miles to go… mountains to climb… but You are with me. You are mighty to save and Your patience means my salvation. Live through me this day.