Paul’s exhortation is that we “scope in” on the things that are unseen—eternal things—not on the things that are seen, which are temporal.
The same Greek verb skopeo is used a few other times in Scripture, though not often. Here is one more instance that really speaks to me from Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Phil. 2.4).
There’s our word again. Look—consider, heed carefully… scope. This is what is to be in our scope, fellow Christian—not always our own things, but the things of others also. The problems, the concerns, the needs, the hopes—of others. I mentioned last time that when you are looking into a scope you are pretty much oblivious to all else. That’s all you see. That’s certainly the way it is when it’s our own problems and concerns that fill our scope. We are more or less oblivious to all else. In fact it becomes a kind of captivity, as I recall David Wilkerson once saying, when our Enemy has succeeded in causing us to be always preoccupied with our own problems, and the needs of our brother and our sister are scarcely on our radar. That is great defeat to the body of Christ, Wilkerson said.
How wonderful and liberating, and victorious, then—when we are scoped in on the concerns of others. Oh, to see this in operation in the body of Christ—the love that makes us as focused on the things of our brother and sister as we were on our own things—and they showing the same care for you and me. It’s the liberty of love—release from the shackles of self, being freed up to serve others and their interests.
I also recall reading wheelchair-bound quadriplegic Joni Eareckson Tada saying that the thing she found most difficult about her affliction was the temptation to be always turned inward on herself. She said she had to discipline herself strictly to keep from doing so.
Let us do the same. We need to be earnestly seeking the Lord for the grace to “look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
It appears Paul’s friend Timothy was such a man. Paul spoke highly of Timothy, telling the Philippians a little further on in his letter to them, “I have no man likeminded, who will naturally (that is, genuinely) care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s” (Phil. 2.21).
What is the evidence that Timothy is seeking the things of Jesus Christ? He genuinely cares for the state of the saints.
So—these two, which really are one and the same, I think.
1) Keeping in our scope that which is unseen, the Lord Jesus Christ and His kingdom that ruleth over all; and,
2) Being preoccupied with His interests—the things of others.
Let’s get these two in our sights with binocular vision—and keep them there!