Seeing the Unseen

I went to China for a minute last month and stood on a dusty road at the edge of a field. Then, I headed to a very busy street in India in a town that I couldn’t find again if I tried. Next I popped over to the Sky Walk in Australia and almost had a heart attack when I looked down. Then it was off to France where I stood right underneath The Eiffel Tower, pinching myself to be so close to such a sight. I came back to America and stood on a red carpet in Hollywood, checking out Meg Ryan’s shoes and staring at her famous blonde hair as she chatted into a microphone while Billy Crystal stood off behind her. Finally, I went to the front row of an NBA game and shrunk back in my seat because the men were GIANT in front of me on the court.   

My cousin, who is a sound designer/insanely smart music producer person, laughed off to my right and said, “How amazing is this? Where are you going next?”

I slipped off the gear that was on my head and over my eyes and in a disorienting and dizzying whoosh I was pulled back into a kitchen chair in Marietta, Georgia. 

My cousin’s sound design team is working on virtual reality technology from an audio perspective, so that what is heard in the headset will accurately “travel” as the person wearing it turns toward or away from the source of the sound. He explained that in order to create realistic virtual reality, the brain must trick 3 of our 5 senses. So far, technology has the sight piece and now they are fine tuning sound and touch, which explained why it took me a few minutes to reorient myself in his kitchen after removing the headgear. My brain thought I was elsewhere. I eyed the technological brain-bender on the table before me and my fingers almost itched to put it back on. I felt the temptation to be tethered to this virtual world, my brain tricking  my own senses. I said to my cousin, “This is insane. I could sit here for a thousand hours. I should never own one of these – why would I ever leave my house??”

Verses began rolling around in my heart after that experience. I began to think about my life in terms of what is real and what is virtually real. I began to wonder if part of me has been “tricked” as I walk around on this earth. 

Since the beginning, the sin that rules human hearts has deceived us that what we see, hear, taste, touch and feel are what is real. But scripture tells us a different story. 

2 Corinthians 4:18 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. 

Paul tells us that what “feels” like the long lasting reality of living is actually “transient” (Definition: lasting only for a short time; impermanent). Our ACTUAL reality is happening in things that are “unseen.” Those unseen things area are “eternal” (Definition: lasting and existing forever, with no end or beginning.) How far is the distance in reality from temporary to eternal!  It is unfathomably (Definition: incapable of being fully explored or understood) farther than the distance from a kitchen in Georgia to a crowded street in India. 

So how then do we set our eyes on this “unseen” reality? We have to:

  1. Seek it/Look for it
  2. Put something off/put something to death
  3. Put something on

Paul tells us in Colossians 3: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth….Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming…

12Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

That’s quite a list.  I’ll summarize:

  1. Seek Jesus. Set our minds on Him. Seek the things that are unseen. Note that these are active words that call us to move our eyes and hearts and minds and senses UP to where Jesus is seated with the Father. 
  2. Kill the things of the world that have tricked and betrayed our eyes and ears and hearts — those earthly things listed above that crouch at the door of our heart, engaging all our senses. Their job is to deceive, to bind us to temporal things, to keep our eyes down instead of up where Jesus sits. Their job is to lead us to destruction. Put them to death before they do.
  3. Put on (as God’s chosen ones) the things above: compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Forgive, bear with one another, love, admonish and teach, sing together and be thankful — doing all this as one body in the name of Jesus. 

Let us not overlook how much of this seeking and putting off and on is done together as the body of Christ.

For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

 Hebrews 13:14-15

One day this vapor will be gone and our eternal reality will be before us.  Until then, may we seek, praise, forgive and bear with one another as Christ dwells in us richly. Together.