by Scott McClelland
Taken with permission from the FXMissions blog, www.fxmissions.com
We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen… 2 Corinthians
I was honored by an invitation to speak to a men’s meeting that a friend was hosting recently. I prayed and thought about what would be appropriate to share. Later on while I was mowing, this inspiration came to me.
We are building an invisible house. Sometimes the visible things around us compete with that reality, including our natural “house” or accumulations. These two, as far as focus or priorities go, can be mutually exclusive and at a minimum tend to struggle with each other for first place. Keeping the most important thing as primary will go a long way toward a fruitful and peace filled life. If we focus solely on natural things and accumulations, it will undermine and steal the opportunity away from the construction of our spiritual lives. That is why we must realize that “consumerism” or materialism is a deadly weapon to our effectual faith, especially so in our post modern culture.
2 Corinthians 5:1-10
“For we know that if our earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made by hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed, in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, since in fact after putting it on, we will not be found naked. For indeed, we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— but we are of good courage and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive compensation for his deeds done through the body, in accordance with what he has done, whether good or bad.”
2 Corinthians 5:1-10 NASB2020
Think of the “compensation” that is mentioned above as a structure for a moment. We should understand that what we are left with, in the end, is what we have constructed in the unseen realm while alive in our bodies. Appearing before the judgement seat of Christ will be a place of revealing of what has been being done in secret throughout our lives. The lyrics a friend wrote come to mind, some will have done mighty exploits, and some will suffer great loss. Many of these things will be known only to us and God until we stand and are evaluated.
1 Corinthians 3:5-17
“What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now the one who plants and the one who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each person must be careful how he builds on it. For no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, each one’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each one’s work. If anyone’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet only so as through fire. Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.”
1 Corinthians 3:5-17 NASB2020
The natural man or the natural mind is oblivious to the spiritual world, and what little he does see about it comes across as foolishness. This temple that is being described here is not simply your natural fleshly body, which we are tempted to believe. We can be sure of this because we know that our natural bodies don’t survive this life, and what God does lasts forever. This is talking about our real and actual selves, our spiritual selves. It’s not like we should neglect hygiene or personal care to our physical bodies and natural surroundings, but everything should be attended to and focused on in view of it’s eternal significance. We seem to have a knack for majoring on the minors. We must grow up from wherever we find ourselves at this moment. We must become mature in our faith and our understanding of the Lord and His Kingdom.
Sure, some are helping to build the larger context of this spiritual, this invisible house. Maybe we feel like they aren’t doing their jobs very well. Maybe they aren’t? Either way, we cannot allow ourselves to get fixated on this. At the judgement seat of Christ, we won’t be asked to be responsible for what someone else did, nor them for us. Individually, we will all have our own deeds to answer for. No person can overcome for you your own indifference to these eternally consequential things. Don’t expect them to.
Everything you “own” today, and what remains until the conclusion of your natural life, will instantly be transferred to another party at your passing. It doesn’t make sense to consider this as most important and fail to invest yourself in things that will remain forever. Lay up for yourselves treasure beyond the reach of thieves and decay, as Jesus admonished us to do. We can think that the only way to accumulate such treasures is to “sell everything you own” but that isn’t true. It’s one way but not the only way. In our immature minds we tend to favor the extremes. Whatever we do in obedience and through the fruit of the Spirit will result in eternal consequence, be it large or small. We must not think little of shaky first steps…. That’s how nearly all worthwhile things begin.
‘Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer person is decaying, yet our inner person is being renewed day by day. 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. For our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, ‘
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
We build our spiritual house by obedience to God’s guidance, following His leadership, and by the fruit of the Spirit. As a rough parallel, think of obedience and following as the building materials and the fruit of the Spirit as what joins the components together. This is how we store our treasure securely. Nothing done in love is ever wasted.
Man is constrained on every side by limitations he will battle incessantly all his days. As long as we are alive only in a natural sense, we can perceive no escape from this opposition that we are overmatched by. Suddenly, at spiritual rebirth, we become aware (albeit slowly at first) of the reality of a realm which has been calling to us since we were born. And now we can see. The Kingdom of God is superior to and surrounds the natural realm. And we are His citizenry, and not only that, but His kings and priests. And we take heart, even in daunting circumstance and with committed opposition, that what we are doing in this life to invest in the Kingdom of God, is worthwhile. Even if it is invisible and known to no one.