"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, October 18, 2013

* POWER OF PERSPECTIVE

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV 1984) " '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 to unload some gear.  Instantly, I figured out what we were about to do.  I was excited and a little anxious.  The crew started to air up the hot air balloon.

I'm not exactly a thrill seeker.  I prefer my 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!

My eager husband and I climbed into the 3 X 3  hand woven basket with our pilot.  The ground crew released the ropes and away we went, 10 ft, 30 ft, 100 ft and higher...excuse me, ehhhemm, where's the bathroom?

When I focused on my immediate surroundings or 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 breadth of what lie before me.

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

Far above I could see the great expanse before us.  The Boise foothills, Black Butte, Table Rock and the sun all marked their positions.  This sight was simply breathtaking, one I will never forget.

How similar it is when we see things from a different vantage point that our understanding and perception changes.  Perspective increases our vision to see things in a new light or from a different angle.  

Normally, our perspective is subjective.  This reveals our humanity and need for God's ways to penetrate our mind and heart.  This enables us to exercise faith in our present reality.  God's outlook is totally different than ours, as the passage in Isaiah 55 demonstrates.  This is the difference between an earthly and heavenly perspective. God's omniscience testifies to His supreme understanding of all things. We only see a few frames of the movie while God sees all the footage.   

As we mature in our faith it's important to understand how a godly perspective can change everything.  It's counter intuitive at times because we tend to focus on the here and now, the temporal, because we are finite.  Setting our mind on things above and remembering the eternal allows us to stretch our mind beyond what we see, to what we may not even know or presently understand.  This also frees us to have even greater trust in God's sovereignty.  

Here are a few points to ponder:

  • Perspective affects how we view life. In the midst of trials it can be hard to see beyond the moment of difficulty.  When we try to understand a bigger picture, God may be attempting to accomplish much through our lives in the midst of pain.  I don't say this lightly because I know the depth of heartache.  It was through tragedy that God enabled me to see beyond myself to grow in areas He had been trying to reach for years.
  • Perspective influences how we view others.  Having perspective means we try to understand where another person is coming from or we empathize with someone's situation before making unfair false assumptions.  
  • Lack of perspective produces inaccurate pictures of situations.  Not having the full view can cause us to respond and react differently than we would if we did have the complete picture.  A response of grace or misunderstanding versus a judgmental reaction is often determined by our perspective.  Godly perspective extends mercy and understanding.  When we understand more fully, we are then able to forgive and offer compassion.
  • Perception of others can be colored by our perception of ourselves.  
For example, 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 sought to strangle me.  

The Lord showed me I was wrong.  Then, 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 others.  This fundamental truth changed everything.  My perspective of Leah reversed 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.

When we're at ground level it is natural to have an earthly subjective perspective.  The results of not having the proper vantage point can cause damage.  When we strive to seek a renewed godly perspective, higher than our own, it will require a purposeful pursuit of God's point of view.  One thing is certain, the power of perspective, godly perspective, changes us.

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

How have you made unfair judgments of others, causing you to make hasty assumptions or ungodly comparisons?

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 Transforming Word:
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV 1984) "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.  Edited 2013.  All rights reserved.