“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.” (II Corinthians 4:18)
The Apostle Paul gives us an insight here on how we should evaluate our service at church and other Kingdom enterprises — as well as the state of our own spiritual lives:
— First of all, he tells us that if the results could be SEEN — numbers, offerings, buildings, these kinds of things can be “seen — they are temporal. They must not be where our focus & joy are. Everything we can see with our eyes, will one day pass away. We can’t put our hope & joy in them. Buildings we build will crumble. Money we accumulate will be worthless. Crowds we gather will disappear. Even the physical bodies of people we can see, will one day be gone! “The things which are seen are temporal.”
— But on the other hand, he says, the godly person looks “at the things which are NOT SEEN.” Our real focus, and joy, as mature Christians will come from UNSEEN things: what God’s Spirit did in a heart; at spiritual growth and maturity that can’t be “counted” per se. We will be excited about praise given to God; at prayers and intercessions that were fervently made (without any “seen” results yet). These are the things which will last: “The things which are NOT seen are eternal.”
And it is the unseen progress in your own heart that matters as well. (Paul had just spoken in :16 about how although “our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.”) Your money, house, and everything material you currently own will one day be gone. They can be seen, so they are temporal, and they should not be the objects of your hope or joy. Rather you should look to the changes God is making in your hidden life: What is your state inwardly; spiritually? Are you growing, maturing, knowing the Lord better each day? Those unseen things in your life are what are lasting; eternal. The best way to evaluate your life is NOT how big your house looks, or how much money you see you have in the bank, but how you are progressing in the areas of your life that no one ever sees.