An Eye for the Eternal

Category: Excerpts

As believers we need an eye for the eternal and we ought to mark that which is temporal or eternal. Then we must look at that which is eternal and set our eyes on living for and knowing those eternal realities. Things like who God is and the Word of God, the souls of men, the dealings of God in your life, providences of God, kind tokens of His presence and love.


The Devil will tempt us to make soft, even destructive, choices. In this regard, the Christian can make foolish daily decisions. Things that will not count for eternity! Esteeming things over people, things of the body over the soul. He'll get us to doing good things which are still not the best thing! Puttering around with this, puttering around with that, and we never do get any reading done that will improve our soul. Even good books. It is a battle to read the Bible. It is a battle to read good books, things that will improve our soul. That will change our life. You see, transform our live by the renewing of the mind! Romans 12:2 Think of Paul. In 2 Timothy 4:13, he tells him: "When you come", he said, "bring my cloak which I left with Crispus and bring the books and especially the parchments." Probably the Scriptures. But he did say, "Bring the books"! I mean here's Paul. A mighty apostle and he says, "Bring the books". Inspired by God and he says, "Bring the books"! Taken up into third heaven. Paradise, saw things so glorious such as not being permitted to repeat them! But he says, "Bring the books". No doubt had a wide experience, widely traveled, talking with many men. And yet he says, "Bring the books"! Are you reading good books? Spurgeon says, "If you don't pick the brains of other men you don't have a brain yourself." Are you reading good books? Good value, good books! Things that are expositional to the Scriptures. Are you? Why not? Paul says, "Bring the books". I'll tell you why, it's because the Devil is constantly putting pressure on the believer to distract him, to this and that and the other. And keep us from getting input that will be ours personally. You know, you feel like when you've read it, you've mined that gold out for yourself and it's precious to you. Oh yes, it's shared from a brother, whoever he is, maybe he's dead, but now it's yours. I found that. And it's something you can share. A good measure of your activities can be analysed that way. By how much you got from it to share with somebody else. It is important what we look at. It is important how we look at things, isn't it? How you look at things, it makes a lot of difference. I've used this illustration before, If I were to ask my son to go out and stand in the woods for three hours, right there, three hours. You stand there. Torture it would be. But if he goes out to stand at a deer stand for three hours, great fun! "Didn't see anything, that's alright, but oh, it was great fun!" It's a matter of how you look at things, right? Somebody might say, back there in the days of the Titanic, before it was launched, "Come on board", says the captain. I want to show it to you. "Look at all these chandeliers! Look at all this silverware! Look at all this stuff. Furniture and everything. Beautiful!" But that minute you step off, somebody comes up and says "Hey, did you know that thing is going to down in one day's time?" Are you sure? "Absolutely sure. It's going down. It will go down in one day's time." That puts a whole different perspective on it, doesn't it? I mean you feel, "What? All that, for one day? It's going down!?" Absolutely? You're sure? "Yeah." Why did I look? You know, the glitter and the glory and the glamour, it only mocks the destruction. The termination, the temporalness of it all the more. It's how we look at things. We're out there playing volleyball, the volleyball goes out of bounds. And it's obvious, everybody is hesitating. "Let him get it." And then if I do get it, oh boy it's hard to pick up speed and chase that ball. Yet later in the day, you take off and run a mile and it's great fun. You don't think a thing about it, no problem. It's just a matter of how you look at things. Well, same way here. It ought to affect how we look at our sufferings. Think of Paul, he was not some iron man, right? He felt it. He felt the affliction, he felt the disrespect. He felt what was going on here at Corinth. And yet, we find him saying in other places, "Yet none of these things moved me. They don't move me, they don't stop me. They don't affect me, I keep right on plotting ahead. I don't count my life dear to myself, that I may finish my course with joy. And the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus to testify of the grace of God. It doesn't move me! Oh, yeah it's real. I feel it. But it does not move me! I go on. Realizing it's temporal. Realizing it's momentary." It's a matter of how you look at it. Like a miserable overnight stay in some tent. Generally, when we go out camping, that's what it is for me. Miserable. But, it's for others. And it's just overnight. You get up in the morning and you go on and the sun's shining. You know, I got a little sleep, I guess. And that's the way with our lives. On resurrection morning, it'll all be over! The Son will be shining. So what? It was so brief. It ought to affect how we look at our losses. Think of these Hebrews here. You know they were having trouble. And he tells them, reminds them. He says in Hebrews 10:34 "You took"... What?! "joyfully the spoiling of your goods knowing that in Heaven, you have a better and enduring substance." That is a powerful verse. A powerful testimony those early Hebrews, Christians. It ought to affect how we look at our vocation. To seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. The Gentiles, the non-Christians. They are anxious. They are anxiously seeking the food, the silver, and all that stuff. That's what they're looking for, all this temporal stuff! They're trying to put it all together, accumulate something. It says in Proverbs, "Do not weary yourself to make wealth. For when you look on it, it's gone. It'll make itself wings like the eagle and take off." Oh yeah, you're supposed to work hard. But there comes a point where you do not weary yourself! Don't be anxious! Don't kill yourself to make the next buck. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Trust God with the rest of all of it! It ought to affect how we look at our smallest matters. Whether we eat or drink, a cup of cold water, do all to the glory of God. That has eternal significance. Ah, it ought to affect how we look at our precious children. Realizing that they're mortal. They are mortal. They have a terminal disease, just like we do. And we ought to be so aware that we only have them for awhile. It ought to affect how I look at my possessions. Not being entangled with them. Like Spurgeon says, "Be like the wise fly. When it finds some sweets, it just takes a little sip and takes off again. The foolish fly, it takes a long sip wanders out into it, gets all bogged down, and is killed." Hold our earthly possessions loose. It ought to affect how we look at sin. Peter says, "Seeing", seeing why? "Seeing all these things are going to pass away, what kind of people ought we to be in holiness and godly conduct?" Interestingly, in Romans 16, it says "Put a mark on those who cause divisions and dissensions contrary to the gospel." That word there, that Greek word there is the same as this. "Skopeo" In other words, put your eye on them. Fix your eye on them. Put a mark. And so for us. We ought to mark these things as temporal. Mark these things as eternal. Look at them, set your eye on them, mark them! God, the Word of God, souls of men! The dealings of God in your life. Providences, kind tokens of His presence and love. Put a mark on them. ... Think of it. Memorize it. Do it. The overall outcome of our life who we are and our eternal destiny really is determined by our daily decisions. Right? This is what we do. That's what Christians do. No option right? They do that.