One of the subtle themes in the book of Hebrews is the tension between what is visible and what is invisible. The Christians were committed to following Jesus, but they could not see Him because He was in heaven at God’s right hand. They had read promises of God’s faithfulness, judgment, and deliverance, but these were things in the future that they could not see. Whereas, what they saw in the present was very different. They saw non-Christians prospering. They saw ridicule and persecution for their faith. They saw the Jewish rituals and traditions that seemed to satisfy. And they were tempted to buy into what they could see versus what they could not see.
This is a strong temptation for Christians today. What we see on a day-to-day basis is often what we perceive to be real. The power structures of our day appear to be the ones really in charge. The wealthy and rich appear to be the ones living the really “good life.” The popular people around us appear to have life together. It is very tempting to adopt the way of life of those around us that we see.
But the Hebrews writer emphasized to the Christians that we follow one who is unseen (2:8, 9). He encouraged them to pay attention to what they had heard rather than what they had seen (2:1). He lifted up people like Moses as models to emulate because they trusted in the One who was invisible to them (11:27). The writer believed that our eyes can play tricks on us and we should not believe everything we see. This world is actually like an optical illusion: what we see appears to be reality but it actually is not. What is real is that God sits on the throne, Jesus is Lord, the Spirit is at work, and victory is at hand.
So what this truth means for us as Christians is that we need to cultivate the ability to see our world with spiritual eyes. We need the ability to not accept what we see at face value. Instead, we need to notice the spiritual realities happening in our world. We need to discern God at work in our world – bringing about His purposes and convicting people of sin. When we do this, we become incredibly encouraged. As we see God’s hand working in our life and in the church, we have reasons to give thanks and have joy because we serve a God who is alive. But also, it helps us to live a life of true discipleship. We begin walking to a different beat than those around us, because we see life differently. We follow a Savior in heaven and live out a calling based on heavenly
principles. That looks different.
I would encourage you this week to pray every day, “Lord, give me eyes to see where You are at work.” You might be amazed how your focus is shifted, your heart encouraged, and your faith challenged.