16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.2 Corinthians 4:16-18
For me and my family, it is Spring Break, and, rather than completely taking a break from writing this week, I thought I would share a passage I have been meditating on this week. Hopefully, I can encourage you to meditate on God’s Word, too.
If you think it is odd that I am talking about meditating, you are not alone. But I hope to redeem this word and idea from the way that it is often linked with eastern mysticism. Here are a few of the verses that speak of meditating on God’s Word and a brief definition of the original Hebrew word:
- Psalm 1:2 – …but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates (to celebrate; to ponder by talking to oneself) day and night.
- Psalm 77:12 – I will ponder (same word translated “meditate” in Ps. 1:2 above) all your work, and meditate (to occupy one’s attention with thanks and/or praise) on your mighty deeds.
- Psalm 119:15 – I will meditate (same as “meditate” in Ps. 77:12) on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
- Psalm 119:97 – Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation (thoughtful contemplation) all the day.
Basically, the idea is for the Word of God to occupy your thoughts and drive you to worship God and be thankful for what He has done for us in Christ through the power of His Spirit. And this is what I have been doing this week with today’s passage.
The goal of meditating on God’s Word seems counter-intuitive for most of us. While we realize that we need to spend time in God’s Word, we often feel pressured by reading plans that push us through the Bible in a year or to read this or that section in a month, etc. But let me challenge you not to be satisfied merely getting through the Bible. Let your time in the Word be God getting His Word through you – getting it in you!
Here is what meditating on this passage has been like for me and how I plan to continue meditating on them throughout my break and how I am seeking God’s Spirit to move and work on my life through it.
I have read these verses. A lot. Seriously, this is important. I read a lot – for work, for enjoyment, for study, but to meditate on God’s Word is different than just reading. I may read much longer portions of the Word or read from several books in a given week. But there is no way I can meditate on it all. I need a bite-sized chunk that I can chew on, ponder, and keep on my mind. I came across these verses studying for a sermon last week. I found myself pre-occupied by them, so I read them and read them some more.
Next, I went and looked at the context for these verses – I looked at the paragraph/chapter prior. When Paul says “So we do not lose heart”, the “so” calls back to how our faith is founded upon “what is written” in the Word (v. 13a), the way that faith/belief figures in to what he speaks/proclaims (v. 13b), the knowledge of Jesus’ resurrection and the promise of eternal life with Him (v. 14), and the “grace that extends more and more” to God’s people producing thanksgiving in their hearts and glory for God (v. 15). This is a solid, biblical basis for not losing heart!
This basis explains how we can be “renewed day by day” while we are wasting away in this world (v. 16). It explains how our trials can be considered “light momentary affliction” when compared to the “eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (v. 17). It reminds us that we do not need to look at the “transient”, passing things that we can see here on earth but, instead, to “things that are unseen”, things that are “eternal” (v. 18).
Having this occupy my mind has helped me have an eternal perspective in the events in my life. I can rest my mind and not think about work while on break because I trust in the finished work of Christ. Usually, I allow my mind to be pre-occupied with future worry, but, this week, I have tried to treat the present as “transient”, the future not a guarantee (James 4:14), and set my mind on things above (Colossians 3:1).
I challenge you this week to give meditating on God’s Word a try. Find you a chunk of Scripture and read it. When you get through reading it, read it some more. Keep it on your mind and seek God to help you apply it in your life. Do not lose heart. Set your mind on the Word of God, and I promise you will find Him there!