"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

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Friday, May 20, 2011

POWER OF PERSPECTIVE

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV) " 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.' "



It was a crisp sunny morning early in September a few years ago. My husband planned a big surprise for my 30th birthday.

We drove to the fairgrounds, parked and waited. Shortly after, a truck pulled up and started unloading some gear. I quickly figured out what we were going to do. Excitement and apprehension filled my anxious heart. The crew started to air up the hot air balloon.

Many times we have seen the Saturday hot air balloons take off and fill the sky of our hometown. I guess I made one too many comments on how "I would like to try that someday." Careful what you tell your husbands ladies, they do listen!

My husband and I climbed into the basket with our pilot. The crew released the ropes and away we went, 10 ft, 30 ft, 100 ft and higher...excuse me, ehhhemm, where's the bathroom?

Now, I'm not exactly a thrill seeker. I prefer to have two feet on the ground. Dangling from the sky in a wicker basket with fire and nylon as my safety net is a test of my ambition, to say the least!

If I focused on my immediate surroundings or if I looked down, I became terrified. But, when I looked out beyond my circumstance and gazed at the horizon I began to experience the beauty and depth of what was before me.

From the ground my view was limited. I could hardly see past the horse track, Fred Meyer's and McDonald's. The objects below us became smaller while the sites around us beckoned our attention and enveloped our view.

From above I could see the great expanse of the sky. The Boise foothills, Black Butte, Table Rock and the sun all marked their positions. Simply breathtaking.

Similarly, it is often when we see things from a different perspective that our understanding and perception changes. Perspective has a way of opening our eyes. It helps us to see things in a new light or from a different angle.

Perspective affects how we view our life. In the midst of a trial it can be hard to see beyond the difficulty. Trying to understand the big picture of what God may be attempting to accomplish through our lives is a mark of maturity.

Perspective also affects how we view others. Having perspective means trying to understand where another person is coming from or empathizing with someone's situation.

Our perception of others can also be colored by our perception of ourselves. I remember when I first met Leah. Everything about her seemed perfect. She glowed and had a professional resume that sent me to the land of comparison. She had this, this, and this and I could only see what I lacked. My insecurities became a stumbling block while jealousy reared its ugly head.

The Holy Spirit convicted me. He helped me embrace who I am in Him and the gifts He has given me. This now enables me to rejoice in the gifting He gives to others. This fundamental truth changed everything. My perspective of Leah changed because I knew I could operate in what God asked of me in my life and not compare it to hers. Had I not settled my insecurities, I would not be blessed with the awesome friendship we now share nor would I be able to celebrate what God is doing in each of our lives.

A lack of perspective produces an inaccurate picture of situations and circumstances. Not having the full view can cause us to respond and react differently than we would if we did have the full picture. A response of grace or misunderstanding versus a judgmental reaction is often determined by our perspective. What does godly perspective bring? It extends grace and understanding. When we understand more fully, we are then able to forgive and offer mercy.

God has a different outlook on things than we do. He sees things totally different as the verse in Isaiah 55 demonstrates. This is the difference between an earthly and heavenly perspective. His omniscience testifies to His supreme understanding of all things. We only see a few frames of the movie. God sees all the footage.

We can see the perspective of the Israelites change in the Old Testament. Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt after being in slavery for over 400 years. They stood at the Red Sea as they saw the Egyptians coming to capture them. In their mind it was game over. Exodus 14:10 "As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord."

How were they suppose to know the Red Sea would be split in two? Yet, after they walked through the Red Sea and stood on the other side they watched as the walls of water crashed over the Egyptians. They had a renewed perspective. They saw something they had never seen before. Being humbled, they worshiped God for delivering them from the hands of the Egyptians.

When we're at ground level it is natural to have an earthly perspective. Not having the proper vantage point causes damage. Striving to seek a perspective that is higher than our own requires purposely pursuing God's point of view. One thing is certain, the power of perspective, godly perspective, changes things.




Heart Work:
Evaluate your current perceptions of your friends and family. Are they accurate or unfair? How can you extend grace to these relationships?

Consider a current trial you are experiencing. How can a godly perspective help you despite the outcome?


Heart Exam:
What situation in your life needs to have renewed perspective?

Think of a time when your lack of perspective created a flawed perception. What did you learn through this experience?


Heart Changing Word:
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose."

1 Peter 4:13 "But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed."




Copyright 2011 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.