Dr Doug Mamvura
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17,18).
These words almost cause us to think the Apostle Paul had lost his mind when he said, “Look not at the things which are seen”. How in the world can you look at something you can’t see? This really sounds ridiculous especially for those of us who are ruled by our five senses. The majority of us including believers are usually moved by what we see, hear, touch, smell or feel.
Paul is talking about unseen principles and these are governed by faith.
The definition of faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith is the substance that God used to create the universe, and He transported that faith with His words. God used His words as containers to transport His faith out there into the vast nothingness, into the darkness. He said, “Light, be!” (Genesis 1:3.) And light was! When there was nothing but darkness, God took the Word light and spoke it into existence. He took that which was not and brought to naught that which was!
In Genesis 1:26-27 we are told that God created man in His own image and likeness. Therefore, man is capable of taking those things which are not and bringing to naught those things which are! He is capable of taking things that are not revealed to the physical senses and bringing to naught things that are revealed to the physical senses. Faith is the substance of things, but you can’t see faith.
God chose the things that you couldn’t see to bring to naught the things you could see. When you realise these laws work and you begin to work them, then you can supersede other laws. The law of thrust and lift will supersede the law of gravity. The law of thrust and lift doesn’t do away with the law of gravity; gravity is still working. But we’re taking the things that are not seen and causing the things that are seen to come to naught. An airplane can be seen. You can see it, touch it, and feel it. If you bit into it, you could taste it. Naturally speaking, the airplane is too heavy to fly. It weighs about two tonnes when empty; but because of the law of lift, it can fly. For years, men didn’t know anything about that law. But when you understand these laws and set them in motion, one law has to give way to the other. Things that are not seen put to naught things that are seen.
Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:17, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen . . . .” In other words, if you’re looking only at seen things, things of the natural, then the affliction will not work an exceeding weight of glory in you. It will work only while you’re looking at things which are not seen. You must shift over into the realm of spiritual law and begin to look at things which are not seen with the natural eye. You look at things which are not seen with the eye of the spirit, the eye of faith this is the key to victorious living.
It should be noted that Paul didn’t say, “All affliction will work a far exceeding weight of glory.” He said it would happen only while you’re looking at things which are not seen. Ask yourself the question: “What are the things which are not seen?” If you’re having financial problems and the bank statement comes back in red ink, then the thing that is not seen is the bankbook balancing or your need being met. The thing that is seen is lack and poverty. Paul said that pressure will work for you an exceeding eternal weight of glory if you will look at things that are not seen. It is actually the looking at the unseen that brings the glory, not the pressure of the affliction.
This agrees with what he said in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things”. Never allow yourself to focus on negative thoughts because you become what you think. This is why the Bible says as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Never allow your thoughts to be affected by the environment you are facing or seeing.
In other words, get your mind off the problem and begin to think on the things that are not seen, the things you desire, the things you don’t see with your physical eye. You must learn to see the answer by the eye of faith. The word temporal means “subject to change.” Things you are seeing with the physical, natural eye are always subject to change through spiritual law. That too will come to pass.
Many times, what we see with our physical eye does not agree with the Word of God, the promises of God. The world’s system shapes the seen things around us. They seem to be very real, and they are real; but the Word of God says that they are subject to change! God’s Word is the establishing force of the image of unseen things. We should not allow circumstances and the cares of life to create images within us. Take God’s Word and change things that are seen, the things you don’t desire into things that you do desire.
Words produce images inside us, but sometimes we get these images by making wrong assumptions.
We need to recognise one thing: It is God’s Word that will establish the image of the unseen within us. We should not allow circumstances or the cares of this life to create images within us. What the Word says should create the image. Let me paraphrase what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:18: “If you don’t get rid of that image of looking at the seen, and produce another image inside you, then the afflictions of life will not work in you an eternal weight of glory. But they will, if you’re looking at the things that are not seen.”
We should take God’s Word and change the things that are seen, things we don’t desire into the things that we do desire. Someone said, “I can plainly see my financial situation. I can plainly see the red ink on my bank statement.” Those are things you can see.
The exceeding eternal weight of glory will be brought into place by looking at the unseen. Notice, it is not the affliction that brought glory, but concentrating on the unseen. The unseen is from the spirit world. Spiritual forces are released by God’s Word being spoken. Unseen things are shaped by the Word of God.
For example, the Word says, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38). “He which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6).
“My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). You may not see these things now with your physical eye, but they are very real. They are shaped by God’s Word and your confession! When you look around, you see lack; but God’s Word says, Give, and it shall be given … He which soweth bountifully shall also reap bountifully. You change the seen with God’s Word. You shape the unseen by calling things that are not as though they were. (Romans 4:17)
The message for you and I is to focus on things that are not seen if we are to live victorious lives hence believers should always walk by faith not by sight.