Looking At The Invisible

“We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen…”

It’s been an exhausting week!  Every day last week kept me running, and I do not function well when I’m that busy.  I like calm days, an organized and clean home, a pleased husband, happy children, obedient dogs, gentle music, and pleasant weather.  And I do not care for the antithesis of any of that.  In addition to being too busy, little things keep happening that have left me mentally, physically, and spiritually drained.  The starter on my suburban is going out, a minor inconvenience.   My husband had $2,000 worth of dental work done on Tuesday, another slight more than slight inconvenience.  A blood vessel in my eye burst, leaving me red eyed for several days.  My sleep waned last night as I prayed for a family dealing with domestic violence. Then to top it off I turned on the news early this morning.  Thirty minutes was all I could stand.  Let me ask; after watching this stuff has anyone ever walked away feeling good?  It’s depressing and if allowed, all of this can serve as a catalyst for discouragement, despair, and defeat.

But then I remembered the words spoken to my heart yesterday through the various teaching and preaching ministries at my church.  Words were spoken to encourage, exhort, admonish, uplift, and even inspire me to press toward the mark of the high calling.  We all have troubles.  They are just another example of truth spoken in John 16:33.  I know to expect them.  It’s called life.  So, why do I fix my eyes upon them?  My flesh cries “me, me, me,” but the spirit within cries, “Look up, look up!  Be renewed day by day!”  Paul, (who understood troubles quite a bit more than I) said, “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, 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.” (2Co 4:16-18) Perspective sure changes everything!  I’ll be looking up today and it won’t be at things before me.  I’ll be looking at the invisible.


I have never picked one up.  It’s not that I do not want to offer a ride to someone who needs one.  I just know better.  But I always wonder about a person on the side of the road who is hitchhiking.  Where are they going? Where have they been? How did they end up on the street? What would it feel like to be completely dependent upon others to get you from one place to the next?  Would it be hard to trust people?

I’ve been encountering a lot of hitchhikers lately.  These hitchhikers are of a different sort.  They are hitchhiking Christians.  These are the people who depend upon others for their spiritual growth.  They want a free ride.  They will cling to their family’s Christian heritage and not build one for themselves.  When it comes to learning the Scriptures, they will ride along on the spiritual knowledge of someone else.  They do not read the Bible for themselves.  They do not pray as they should.   They do not study to show themselves approved.  Instead they ride from Sunday to Sunday on the preachers words.  They ask others to pray and never spend time on their knees.  They take what others have studied for themselves, never checking to see if it is true.

When you faithfully attend church and hear weekly sermons it is very easy to hitchhike your way through life.  Yes, it is easy but very dangerous!  One reason it is dangerous is because when it comes to eternity we will not be able to hitchhike our way into heaven.  Each man and woman must stand in judgment before God alone.  Your church membership will not be able to stand with you.  Grandma’s sweet prayers will not be there either.  A Christian heritage will not make a difference.  Our only hope is the One who traveled the road before us and paved the way – Jesus Christ the Righteous.  It is in Him alone that we have access to the Father.

When it comes to spiritual growth, a hitchhiking Christian doesn’t get very far down the road either.  I know because I’ve been one.  My husband came into the faith at 19 years old.  He knew nothing about Scripture.  Early in our marriage he would ask questions like, “Why do you believe this…?”  My answer was simply because that was what I was taught.  In other words, my beliefs were not really mine.  I just took what someone else believed and rode alone with them.  Many of the things I believed were truth.  But it was not until my husband challenged me to know what I believe and why I believe it that the truth became mine.   Then there were those things that I thought I believed and when I began to search out the Scriptures I discovered that I really didn’t believe it.  When I finally began to search out the Scriptures for myself the Word of God became a powerful force in my life.  It became alive.  And I started growing in my faith.

Do you remember the story of the Berean church?  The Apostle Paul, with Silas, came to Berea to preach the gospel in Acts 17.  Paul was God’s man.  God had anointed him in a powerful way.  He wrought miracles everywhere he went.  He preached with authority.  And God would use him to write more books of the Bible than any other.  However, when he came to Berea the believers there “searched the scriptures daily” to see if the things he taught them were true.  They did not hitchhike along on Paul’s knowledge.  They studied for themselves.  And God called them “more noble” because they received the word with all readiness of mind.

We must be ever diligent in the Scriptures.  We must be careful to not rely upon others for our spiritual growth.  We need to put our thumbs down and quit hitchhiking.  Instead, we need to lace up our shoes and “walk worthy of the Lord… increasing in the knowledge of God,” (Colossians 1:10).

A 360 Degree Turn

 One of my favorite verses is found in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” It truly is an amazing concept. From the moment of salvation we become completely different creatures. Old things are passed away and all things become new. I believe the Bible. I know many of you reading this make the same claim. We believe that God has opened our eyes, turned us from darkness to light, and made us sons and daughters of the Most High. Being crucified with Christ, we no longer serve sin but righteousness (Romans 6:6-18). We are not the same as before.

So tell me, how is it possible for a person who claims salvation to sit in church their entire life and never change? How is it that year after year they never spiritually grow? How can a person who was saved 20, 30, or 40 years ago not know more Scripture, Bible doctrine, or Christian principles than when they were first saved? How is it, that in some cases, they are actually worse off spiritually than before?

Time and time again I have seen this. The sad thing is that in some places it has become so commonplace that no one even recognizes it anymore. We have accepted the fact that “some Christians” will never change. I believe that if we would take a deep look at the message that we have been giving people for the last 50 years we would see the problem. It all begins with “Easy Believe-ism”. People have reduced the gospel down to…

“The ABC’s of salvation”

“Raise your hand if you want to go to heaven.”

“Sign this card and join our church”


“Repeat this sinner’s prayer after me.”

Perhaps at the moment of salvation you did one of these things. And you are thinking, “I know I’m saved.” However, true salvation was not because of this but in spite of it. Easy Believe-ism says that God loves you and wants you to live in Heaven with Him, so if you will just believe in your heart than you will be saved. But it takes more than belief. The devils believe and they tremble. “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble,” (James 2:19). I have seen people who claim salvation but have never shown any type of filial (reverential or holy) fear toward God.

You see, the problem with this belief is that it completely removes repentance from the equation. Without repentance there cannot be salvation. A friend shared with me about a little girl at her church that had recently been “saved.” Someone asked the little girl if she was happy that she would not have to spend eternity in hell. The little girl said, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” No one had told her about hell. They simply asked her if she wanted to go to Heaven and be with Jesus when she died. They told her to repeat a prayer and then declared her saved. When I heard this my heart broke; because the truth is that if this little girl did not know about hell, she knew nothing about judgment. And if she knew nothing about judgment, than she could not repent of her sins. And without repentance there is never salvation. Now this girl will go through life with a false sense of security. She is worse off than before. She will think she is saved but it will be impossible for her to grow spiritually. She is still in darkness.

Most people have very good intentions when they are trying to win someone to the Lord. But if we are not careful we will sell people a “bill of goods” and not present to them the whole gospel.   The whole gospel requires repentance.  The whole gospel creates completely new creatures.  The whole gospel presents Lordship.  In Luke 14 Jesus said a man should count the cost before becoming a disciple. Yes, salvation is offered free, but once a person is truly saved they will follow their Lord. And being a disciple of Christ will cost everything. “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple,” (Luke 14:33).

Many times this Easy Believe-ism leads to someone thinking they are saved and getting “on fire for the Lord” only to turn away after some time. It looks as though they have made a 180 degree turn in their life. They are faithful, they read their Bible, they do good works, and they might even witness. But all of a sudden the cares of this world enter in and choke out the word. They drop out of church and go back to their old lifestyle. Their 180 degree turn changes into a 360 degree turn. And they are worse off than before. Consider what II Peter 2:20-21 says, “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.”

I believe in the security of the believer. Once saved – always saved. It is just that there are many people who are deceived into believing they were once saved. They might sit in church their whole life and never change. Or, they might be faithful for a while. They make that 180 degree turn on their own only to keep on going until they are back around to 360 degrees. But it is important, for the sake of souls, that we understand that the latter end is worse than the beginning.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Ladies, spring is just around the corner and before we know it people will start planting their gardens.  Everyone wants to see their plants healthy and growing.  For that to happen, plants need food, water, sunshine, fertilizer, and some tending to.  Without one or more of these key ingredients plants will die.

Plants are not the only things in life that grow.  People grow too or at least they should.  Growth is healthy.  People get very concerned when a baby does not physically grow.  Likewise, people get very concerned when a child does not mentally grow.  But, what about a child of God who does not spiritually grow?

Just like a plant depends upon food and water, so do we.  Without either we will not survive.  But, what about our spiritual food?  A child of God will spiritually wither away without daily feeding upon the Word of God.   If you only ate once a week you would be starving.  How many people are starving spiritually?  They go days, weeks, or months without feeding their spirit.

Fertilizer is also very beneficial to the healthy growth of a plant.  Fertilizer is a little extra boost of nourishment every now and then.  That extra nourishment in a Christian’s life comes in the form of weekly corporate worship.  When we come together to pray, praise God, and hear His Words proclaimed we are nourished in our faith.  Without it, or when it is sporadic, our spiritual growth will become stale and stagnant.

Plants also need tending to.  Sometimes we need to give plants extra support or they will fall over.  Sometimes we must pull out the weeds that are choking them.  Sometimes plants need to be transported to a better location.  God has created us to need tending to as well.  In order for us to spiritually grow we need extra support and encouragement from our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Without it we might fall over.  Sometime we need someone to come alongside us and point out the “weeds” growing in our lives and help to “pluck them out.”  Sometimes, we need a helping hand to bear our burdens because the environment we are in is detrimental to our spiritual life.  But a person who does not fellowship with their brothers and sisters in Christ will not be tended to as they should.  Many people miss blessings and opportunities for God to work because they are not involved in the local church, fellowships, and activities.

Ladies, how does your garden grow?  Are you healthy?  Are you strong in the Lord?  Are you spiritually growing in your faith?  Do you need some sonshine?  If so, read your Bible daily.  Be faithful  to the Lord and His church.  Be sure and fellowship with your brothers and sisters as often as possible.  When you do all of this, you will bloom!  You will flourish!  And you will find yourself healthy and thriving for the Lord!