Seeing Things Invisible
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” Ephesians 1:18
The eyes of your understanding, the eyes of your heart. We see things invisible only with the heart. By invisible things I do not mean non-existing things. Sometimes folks see things that do not exist. The visionary is very different from the man with a vision. The visionary sees something that does not exist and that cannot by any possibility come into existence. But a man with a vision sees things as they are, the material things first, and then with the enlightenment, the anointing that God gives, he sees the things that are away off in the plan of God to be brought about by the prayer of faith and faithful service.
Seeing Things That Are Not
When folks see things that are non-existent they generally get into trouble, and drag along others with them. Assertions of scientists to the contrary notwithstanding, Brown’s hair turned white over night on one side through seeing a snake that was not there. He lost the color of his hair and found Christ through fright. He had been drinking so heavily that he was on the verge of delirium tremens. After staggering to bed one night he was awakened by a rustling sound as of a body drawn lightly across the floor. He stared into the darkness, relieved only by gleams from a street light filtering through the grimy curtains, until a huge snake head with burning eyeballs glared at him over the foot of the bed. With blood chilled in terror he fled. It was days before he lost sight of that thing which did not exist, that figment of a disordered mind. From being a visionary, he got a vision of Christ and became a child of God.
On the other hand, seeing the invisible thing in the material world sometimes leads to fortune. Our great pioneers of progress, our great captains of industry, our successful business men, are men who have seen the invisible in the material world, and, seeing that thing as it were at the end of the journey, they have made all speed; they have put all their strength into arriving at the place and reaching that invisible, but to them material thing.
The magazines are printing the story of a young couple who have made a great fortune in business. The story is a romantic one. When they started out the only thing in the world that she knew how to do was to make candy. She did not know how to cook or iron, or to sew buttons on her husband’s trousers, but she did know how to make candy, so they formed themselves into a partnership for making candy, he to be general advertising and sales manager.
One day she had a vision of something invisible. She had a vision of something that did not exist—just a little bit of a hole in a piece of candy, like a hole in a doughnut, and today all over America there are many hooking on a tiny bit of candy to tongue tip and so swelling the bank account of this far-seeing young couple.
The man who has the power of observation has the primary qualification of a great writer, preacher, or leader of men.
An extraordinary man went to central Africa before the World War. He traveled like a prince, going with all kinds of recommendations to authorities, business men and missionaries. He lived in the “lap of luxury” at home or abroad. He had come into fortune and prominence because of his power of observation. He could see things as few men could. He was Richard Harding Davis, the great war correspondent and novelist. He was sent out by Collier’s Weekly to write the truth about the Congo atrocities.
Why did Collier’s send him? Because they knew that when Davis looked at the country he would see all there was to be seen, and if there were words in the English language to describe conditions and make them real to folks at home, he would find them and put them into gripping, enlightening paragraphs.
Power to see only visible resources is a great weakness in our churches today. The church does not recognize that we have a God who cannot be seen, and that back of Him are all the might and treasures of the eternal glory ready to be poured out for them that believe.
There is a great lack of faith in the Church of God. We fail to see the invisible. We fail to reckon on the faithfulness and ability of God, and the great weakness of the Church today is that it sees only what anyone can see without the eye of faith. Relying upon our visible resources, oh how weak and inefficient we are.
The eye of faith sees God’s plan and program for the ages. We must understand what God means by the Church, and what He has in His mind for the Church to do, and then when we understand these things, there is no room for weakness or fear about the future. There is only room for praise and adoration and going forward with the courage in the strength that God gives, for we see the invisible resources and what God can do in answer to prayer.
Look at an illustration in the book of Genesis. Notice the difference between two men, and particularly the visions of these men in the thirteenth chapter. Lot and Abraham. They had a falling out. There was not enough room for their cattle. Abraham, with the spirit of Christ, withdrew his claims and folding his arms said to Lot, “Lift up your eye and look anywhere you want to and help yourself. I will take what is left.”
So Lot stood on a high place, and the Scripture is so significant. The Spirit of God arranged these words. Lot, after he got up there, lifted up his eyes. He reminds us of that man over in Luke that lifted up his eyes and began to pray to himself, and although he used the name of God, yet God was not in all his thoughts.
Here is this man Lot; he looked around and saw the River Jordan, and saw on the other side the lush meadows, and knew they meant luxurious living for his herds and his flocks, and wealth for himself. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and made his own choice. He did not take God into his calculations. He chose what he could see with eyes of flesh, but Abraham left the choice of his inheritance with God.
After Lot has made his choice, after he has looked over toward the east and has taken that for his part—that was the wrong way for Lot to go—instead of looking to see whether he should go to the east or the north or the west or the south, he should have looked up. Up is not one of the points of the compass, but it is the place of guidance when a choice has to be made.
After Lot made his choice, God told Abraham to lift up his eyes, and then he had to be brought down to earth again because he looked at God so long. He was told to look northward and southward and eastward and westward. God was going to give him all that he could see, to the extent of his vision over the head of Lot. He only looked into the face of God and asked, “What do you want me to have?”
As you look into the face of God, can you say from the very depths of your being, with all the intensity of your nature, with all the fullness of your body, soul and spirit, can you say, “I want Thee, I want Thy will, I want Thy purpose, Thy plan for my life, and nothing else will satisfy me?” Can you say that? If that is true, nothing else matters. Poverty, sickness, affliction, persecution, all these may come, but if your heart is right with God, and you desire His will alone, nothing else matters. God is greater than all these things and He will bring you into the place of your appointment and into your desired haven.
Over in the book of 2 Kings we have two more men, and the vision one of the men had. Elisha and his servant Gehazi. They were compassed about a crowd of enemies. There were horses and chariots and spears everywhere to be seen. When this young man got up in the morning and looked out his knees knocked together, his jaws dropped, and with trembling hands holding to the door-post he gasped, “Master, come out and look!” The master said, “If I were to look at what you see, I would be as badly frightened as you are. I am not looking at the material, but I am looking at the supernatural, the immaterial, the spiritual. I see God. I see these things in passing, but I see God too over them all.”
God does not want us to stick our heads in the sand like an ostrich. He does not want us to blind ourselves to the things that exist, but He wants us to look at the afflictions and problems of life. They are there, and God does not want any Christian Sciencism about them. He does not want us to shut our eyes and try to ignore them. He wants us to see things as they are, and then look right through them and see Him beyond them all, over them all, and greater than all.
Then we have the prayer of this man of God. He must have looked up into the face of God and said, “I am very tired of dealing with this young man. He has been with me for a long time, and he has seen Thy working, and yet his eyes are blinded still. Oh God! open his eyes that he may see (2 Kings 6:17), not the encircling forces of the enemy about him, but that he may see that Thou, the eternal God, art his refuge!”
Praise God for a vision that enables us to look away from the circumstances that beset us and the things of time around us, and look through and beyond them into the very face of God, who is not only Eternal, but who is Almighty, and who is Love!
Seeing the Body of Christ
There is great blindness in the Church and in the world today as to the person of the Lord Jesus. Unless you see Christ and the body of Jesus, and know that Jesus Christ is God and man, you have not gotten very far toward the Christian life.
Away back there in His council chamber God devised a plan of escape; a way of redemption. He found it necessary to send His son, Jesus. He made for Him a body. He came through the womb of the virgin Mary. He was conceived by the Holy Ghost. He lived and loved and suffered and died, God and man. He arose from among the dead ones and ascended up on high, through all the environing hosts of hell that were there to keep that glorious body from going up. He ascended, this same Jesus, with the same body that walked the earth. Having shed His precious blood, He went up into the presence of God, and is now sitting at the right hand of God in the place of power; in the place of privilege, from whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
There is great blindness today to these fundamental truths. It is amazing the number of people who profess to be Christians, who do not accept the deity of Christ. If you were to ask them, “Do you really believe that Jesus Christ is God?” they would have to answer they do not believe it.
Seeing Salvation’s Plan
There is great blindness as to Christ’s way of working in a dead world. It is not what you and I purpose. It is not that you and I, as dead men and women, resolve to lead a better life. There is so much blindness to the working of the Spirit of God—to the working of Jesus, to the working of the Word of God in the heart of the man or woman who seeks after God—as to how the Spirit of God takes that filthy, corrupt, sinner, unfitted even for earth, to say nothing of heaven, and forgives and cleanses him, puts him under the precious blood and brings into the family of God.
It is not trying to live a Christian life. We become Christians and the life lives itself. It is not trying to be better men and women. Not stiffening our backbone and signing all kinds of resolutions, and subscribing to all kinds of rules, but belonging to Jesus. The life of God, eternal life, that which has no beginning and can have no ending, is ours.
Seeing the Church’s Work
There is blindness also in regard to the present work of Christ’s body, the church on the earth. God took a very direct oversight of His people in the Old Testament. That form of government was a Theocracy. In the coming dispensation, when the Lord Jesus Christ comes from glory, when His feet stand again on the Mount of Olives, and when that mount splits in two, when Jesus comes back to this earth for a thousand years, and His people reign with Him, the form of government will be a kingdom. But in this dispensation, in a certain way, the form of government is a democracy. We talk a great deal about making the world safe for democracy. Thank God, the world is being made safe for a kingdom, and the kingdom will be ruled over by a King, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
In the meantime Christ is there is His glory, and the Holy Spirit is here on earth. This is the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, and the Church is carrying out the work of God. Members of the body of Christ are working together in the spirit, and they have a very definite plan, and their program has been laid out, for them by God.
Look at the text in Ephesians, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him; the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.”
First, the hope of His calling. That is our riches; the high position God has given to us. Oh, the wonder of it, and the glory of our position! We are priests and kings together with Jesus, our King, to reign throughout the millennial age. Oh, to realize the wealth of our position, the high calling that God has given to us in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Next, the riches of His inheritance in the saints; Christ’s wealth in us. Do not say you are not worth anything. Do not belittle yourself. Do not harbor false pride or mock humility. You are worth something because Jesus considered you of such worth that He laid down His life for you, and gave His life’s blood for you.
Now we are made a spectacle and are the offscouring of the earth; at times we are hungry and thirsty and persecuted and driven. In the eternal ages God is going to make another kind of spectacle out of us. He is going to show to this world, and to other worlds in all His created realms, what His Son could do when He shed His blood for our redemption. We are worth something. We are Christ’s wealth. We are the pearl of great price that He came to purchase, and for which He gave His life, His precious blood.
Is it not wonderful? God working not only in us, but through us in the world. Do you know why you do not love God with a pure heart fervently as you ought? Maybe you think more of the newspaper than you do of the Bible. Perhaps you have not read the Bible very much; you have not read it through. It may be you are like the old man away down South.
A subscription agent went to his cabin up in the mountains and tried to interest him in some newspapers and magazines, and this lank mountaineer took him in and said: “Sir, you cannot sell me any of those things. I have more than I know what to do with.” Then over in the corner he pointed to a pile of dust covered newspapers, and said, “There is a bunch of reading matter my boy left me when he died nine years ago, and I haven’t got through all of them yet.”
He was still reading back numbers. It is like that with many of God’s people. They haven’t got through with the world’s literature. Nothing should prevent us from feeding upon the Word of God.
Seeing the invisible makes a fortune for the possessor of that gift in the material or in the spiritual. What a difference there is between church members, but, thank God, all eyes may be opened to see the invisible, and to live lives of righteousness and service.
Look at our inheritance. In the beginning, we, through the work of Christ, receive the Lord Jesus Christ and are made right before God. We have the righteousness which is of God by faith as a gift. Then, since we are made right up there by Christ at the throne, the Holy Ghost down here on earth makes us right as we walk in the spirit day by day. In other words, in the beginning we have to reckon ourselves right, and then all through the days upon earth the Holy Ghost is working in our lives to make that reckoning real, to make us right as we yield unto Him and as He works in us and through us for the perfecting of His own will. We walk in the Spirit, and God makes real in us here on earth all that has been done for us up there at the throne by the work which the Lord Jesus did upon the cross of Calvary.
The anointed eyes of the heart see God and get a vision of life and its duties and his program for a lost world. So the child of God may walk in faith looking “not at the things which are seen.”