Do you ever think how big God really is, and how comparatively small our understanding of everything He tells us in His Word–about the world around us and spiritual truths and eternity–tends to be? Certainly “…God has revealed them to us through His Spirit,” (I Corinthians 2:10), yet for many of us we still don’t seem to righly grasp the full extent of everything God has revealed to us through Christ in Scripture.
“And He said to them, ‘He who has [spiritual] ears to hear, let him hear!’” (Mark 4:9)
The problem is that the ears of most people are remarkably dull. It really is as Jesus said–“…seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” (Matthew 13:13 ) They might have heard Bible stories since childhood, but that is what they remain–stories. Even those of us who know and love Jesus can sometimes fail to appreciate the full magnitude of everything we have in Christ, of everything we will someday see and understand completely. We really are “looking through a glass dimly” as St. Paul describes, and the reality Jesus wants us to understand is as far away from our perception of it as quantum gravity, multiple dimensions, and condensed matter physics are from the ABC’s.
Let’s take a look at something He said:
“Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand! The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.” (Matthew 13:40-44 NLT)
“There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” This sounds almost silly to us today, but what Jesus is conveying is that those who miss out will experience the deepest possible expression of remorse and regret upon finally, but belatedly, recognizing the full extent of the truth–and what they are now irrevocably precluded from.
The thing is that God–and everything He wants His people to know–is so much greater than we typically imagine. You’ve heard the saying, “Your God is too small?” Obviously, it isn’t God who is too small; it is our love of Him and our desire to know Him better that is too small–our willingness to devote ourselves to fully and adequately comprehend everything He says!
Years ago I had a picture of a cross-section of an iceberg in water–you can see the part above the water line, and the so-much-more-than-you-ever-imagined part below. It’s the same with the physical and spiritual. We know the physical because our bodies are physical–we live and breathe and exist in them every day. But there is also the spiritual–the part God makes alive in us when we trust in and submit to Christ, the part His Spirit in us interacts with, the part that will survive the physical death of our body, the part that is so much larger than the mere physical as the above-water iceberg is than the part below!
I am thoroughly convinced once we leave our bodies we will understand, but by then it will be too late. So how should we respond?
We must respond by fixing “…our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV) We live in these bodies and in this world, but we are not of this world. And, we must, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:” (Hebrews 12:14) Pursuing is active–it requires effort on our part. Are you really pursuing God?
This fall our youngest daughter started ninth grade at a local private school, and even though she is not a boarding student the tuition is substantial. But because I believe it is to her benefit to be able to attend I am pursuing every avenue I know to figure out how I can pull the funds together, month by month, for her to be able to do so. That is pursuing–it’s going after something you value, something you really want, with all you’ve got, just like the man who sold all he had to get the priceless jewel. That is how we should be pursuing Jesus and His holiness!
But do we? Or do we, more often than not, run after the physical and ignore the spiritual? Remember–what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!
Help us fix “…our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Amen!