2 Corinthians 4:16-18 - Look Beyond The Gloom To The Glory!

2 Cor 4:16 (PHIL)  This is the reason why we never lose heart.
The outward man does indeed suffer wear and tear, but every day the
inward man receives fresh strength.
2 Cor 4:17 (PHIL)  These little troubles (which really are so
transitory) are winning for us a permanent, glorious and solid reward out of
all proportion to our pain.
2 Cor 4:18 (PHIL)  For we are looking all the time not at the
visible things but at the invisible.  The visible things are transitory:
it is the invisible things that are really permanent.

These verses bring wonderful assurance to the believer in times
of suffering. [Wiersbe Expository Outlines]

From the physical point of view life may be a slow but
inevitable slipping down the slope that leads to death. But from the
spiritual point of view life is a climbing up the hill that leads to the
presence of God. No man need fear the years, for they bring him nearer,
not to death, but to God. [Barclay Commentary]

Inward renewal overcomes the outward destruction, and ultimately
overcomes even death itself. [NIV SB]

Our present troubles are insignificant as compared with our
future glory. The future reward will exceed any trouble or suffering
that we could have in this life. [Jamieson, Fausset, And Brown

Seen in the perspective of eternity, the Christian's
difficulties, whatever they may be, diminish in importance. Eternal glory is
far greater than all the suffering one may face in this life. [NIV

Our troubles should not diminish our faith or disillusion us. We
should realize that there is a purpose in our suffering. Problems and
human limitations have several benefits: (1) they remind us of
Christ's suffering for us; (2) they keep us from pride; (3) they cause us
to look beyond this brief life; (4) they prove our faith to others;
and (5) they give God the opportunity to demonstrate his power. See
your troubles as opportunities!  [Life Application SB]

These trials of life are God's workmen to remove the impurities,
infirmities, and roughness from our characters, and fit us for the society of
pure, heavenly angels in glory. But as we pass through these trials,
as the fires of affliction kindle upon us, we must not keep the eye
on the fire which is seen, but let the eye of faith fasten upon the
things unseen, the eternal inheritance, the immortal life, the eternal
weight of glory; and while we do this the fire will not consume us, but
only remove the dross, and we shall come forth seven times purified,
bearing the impress of the Divine. 1T705-7

How do troubles achieve glory? Troubles help us see this world
for what it is: imperfect and temporary. That insight leads us to
look for the perfect and permanent. It is in that frame of mind that
we can begin to see the eternal glory of Christ. [Quest SB]

If we think only of the things that are visible we are bound to
see life that way. But there is another way. [Barclay Commentary]

Our minds take the level of the things on which our thoughts
dwell, and if we think upon earthly things, we shall fail to take the
impress of that which is heavenly. We would be greatly benefited by
contemplating the mercy, goodness, and love of God; but we sustain great loss
by dwelling upon those things which are earthly and temporal. We
allow sorrow and care and perplexity to attract our minds to earth,
and we magnify a molehill into a mountain. . . .
Temporal things are not to engage our whole attention, or
engross our minds until our thoughts are entirely of the earth and the
earthly. We are to train, discipline, and educate the mind so that we may
think in a heavenly channel, that we may dwell on things unseen and
eternal, which will be discerned by spiritual vision. It is by seeing Him
who is invisible that we may obtain strength of mind and vigor of
spirit (ST Jan. 9, 1893).  6BC1099-1100

In all ages Satan has persecuted the people of God. He has
tortured them and put them to death, but in dying they became conquerors.
They revealed in their steadfast faith a mightier One than Satan.
Satan could torture and kill the body, but he could not touch the life
that was hid with Christ in God. He could incarcerate in prison
walls, but he could not bind the spirit. They could look beyond the
gloom to the glory, MB29,30

So few things in our lives last forever.  In fact, Jesus tells
us in Matthew 24:35 that "heaven and earth will pass away, but my
words will never pass away." It makes you wonder, doesn't it, why we
spend so much time, energy, and resources on the things of this world
- making money, creating a name, impressing our neighbors,
collecting treasures, seeking pleasure - when we know that they will all be
gone one day. Like God Himself, His Word is eternal.  What results
from His Word is also eternal:  fruits of the Spirit such as love,
joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control;
fruits of our labor such as soul winning, seed planting, soil watering;
the fruit of righteousness such as a pure life. What will you say on
that day when you stand before the Lord to give an account of your
time?  Today is a good day to start over: read His Word, apply it to
your life, and  live it out!  [In His Time; Walk With Wisdom]

Jesus places mankind in two categories:  those who follow Him
and those who do not.  Those who follow Him are in the minority and
must struggle against the current of our time in order to be obedient
to Him.  The Lord calls His followers to a life of selflessness;
the world encourages each to get all that he can.  The Lord calls
His followers to a life of patient waiting; the world urges
immediate gratification.  The Lord calls His followers to labor for the
kingdom; the world strives for bigger, better, and the most now.  What do
you do more than others?  Are you more selfless or selfish?  Are you
waiting or striving?  Does what you do have eternal or temporal
significance?  Think about it!  [In His Time; Walk With Wisdom]

Outward man. That is, the body, the visible part of man, which
decays under the wear and tear of life. The "inward man," on the other
hand, denotes man's regenerate, spiritual nature, which has been and
is daily being renewed by the Spirit of God. The process of renewal
goes forward constantly and keeps him united to God. . .
It is the daily renewing work of the Spirit in the life that
brings about the complete restoration of the image of God in the soul
of man. Thus, though the outward man may grow old and decay with
the years, the inward man continues to grow in grace as long as life
lasts. . .
Every Christian needs this daily renewal if his experience with
God is not to become callous and formal. Spiritual renewal brings
new light from God's Word, new experiences of grace, to share with
others, new cleansing of heart and mind. In contrast, the unregenerate
are usually anxious about those things that pertain to the outer
man, what to eat, what to wear, and what to enjoy. [SDA Commentary]

In heaven God is all in all. There holiness reigns supreme;
there is nothing to mar the perfect harmony with God. If we are indeed
journeying thither, the spirit of heaven will dwell in our hearts here. But
if we find no pleasure now in the contemplation of heavenly things;
if we have no interest in seeking the knowledge of God, no delight
in beholding the character of Christ; if holiness has no
attractions for us-- then we may be sure that our hope of heaven is vain.

Whatever Christ asks us to renounce, He offers in its stead
something better. ED296,7

To honor Christ, to become like Him, to work for Him, is the
life's highest ambition and its greatest joy.  ED296,7

While it is our duty to seek for perfection in outward things,
it should ever be kept in mind that this aim is not to be made
supreme. It must be held subordinate to higher interests. Above the seen
and transitory, God values the unseen and eternal. The former is of
worth only as it expresses the latter. 7T143