“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (II Corinthians 4:17).
The perspective of the Apostles is amazing as we see through their eyes a reality that few see in our age. We need more of the Apostolic perspective for the days ahead and in the New Year to come.
Affliction: (Gr. thlipsis): pressure, anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble
The perspective of the Apostles says we “look not at the things which are seen, but at the things are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are unseen are eternal” (II Corinthians 4:18).
The Apostolic perspective determines that our afflictions are working for us, not against us. Our afflictions are working for us an “eternal weight of glory”. Few there are who embrace that perspective today.
In his Epistle to the Romans, the Apostle says, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). Is this just rhetoric? Or, is this the Apostle’s reality? This was his reality.
Suffering affliction was Paul’s reality because this was appointed to him from his conversion. Jesus said to Ananias regarding Paul, “I will show him how great things he must suffer for my Name’s sake” (Acts 9:16). The Apostle accepted his assignment from his Lord, and this assignment he preached to the people, writing “for unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Philippians 1:29).
Our Light Affliction: The Apostolic perspective not only accepts suffering for the sake of Christ as a way of life in the Kingdom, but in looking to the glory to follow compares our current afflictions as a light thing, a momentary thing, a temporary thing in light of the eternal glory that awaits us, and is to be revealed in us. This is the perspective that enabled our Church Fathers to change the world, despite being crushed by governments, persecuted by other religions, and mocked by unbelievers.
Our Light Affliction: Again, Paul writes to the Corinthians: “Giving no offence in anything that the ministry be not blamed; but in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watching, in fasting;” (II Corinthians 6:4-5). Light afflictions, indeed, in the eyes of the Apostolic perspective.
Are you being pressured, persecuted, troubled, and burdened by the evil scheming of governments, religions, and unbelievers? Are you in tumults, labors, watchings and fastings from current events? Do you have an Apostolic perspective in the middle of all your troubles? Are you going through “light afflictions” compared to the glory to be revealed in you? Oh, what a glorious Gospel we have been given for the end of this age. This temporary, momentary, current time of suffering affliction is not worthy to be compared to the eternal, everlasting glory of Christ revealed in us.
“Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the Life of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (II Corinthians 4:10).