First: Thanks to Amy for her comment on my first “Perspective Matters” post (you can read her comment, and comment yourself if you want, by clicking on the comment link at the bottom of that post). I, too, rejoice in God’s mercy and gentleness with me!
I have found my mind drawn repeatedly back to my first post on perspective since I did it a few days back (can you tell whose eyes I used in that picture?). It seems like even in what I read since then I find things that make me think about it, or more examples of it. So, a few more comments about it and examples. As more come to me, maybe I’ll even do another post on it!
If you are reading this you likely are one who wants God to direct your paths. I believe I am. One of the keys that Proverbs 3:5-6 gives to God directing our paths is to lean not on our own understanding. Proverbs 13:15 says, depending on your translation, that good understanding brings favor. Clearly the proper understanding is critical to our Christian walk and growth and God’s favor on our life, and it can only begin with proper seeing, which begins with proper perspective.
So often, it seems, that we initially read a Bible story from our own perspective or framework of experience, emotion, background, etc. But then, if we can rotate 180 degrees around the event, and see it from God’s eyes we see it totally differently. As we see through His eyes we start to develop His mind and perspective, and we see the full and real picture of things. This allows us to operate from a true reality, and not an illusion. If we can practice this in Bible events, I believe we will become better at doing it in our daily events as well. I know this seems to help me, at least!
So, a few more examples of perspective:
1) The woman in Bethany pouring perfume worth a year’s wages over Jesus. Man’s perspective: a waste. Could have been used to feed the poor. Foolish. Unwise. God’s perspective: an act of worship without compare. Jesus said of her: “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. . . . Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” Wow! What a difference! Foolishness to the world is beautiful worship and recorded eternally to God. If we want to bless the Father and do the things that are beautiful to Him we better think like Him and not the world!
2) Paul’s conversion. Man’s perspective: lost everything—reputation, wealth, status. God’s perspective: all that he lost is dung compared to the riches of the glory of what He gained—Jesus and eternal life! Wow! How do we rank the relative worth of things? I remember someone saying to a family member of ours, upon hearing what Mary Ann and I were now doing, “What a waste, with the education they have.” Wow! And we finally knew we were doing something of true meaning! What a different mindset and perspective. Only one is right.
3) Five thousand hungry men plus probably thousands of hungry women and children. Man’s (disciple’s) perspective: impossible. “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” God’s perspective: not a problem, not an impossibility, “Who is willing to make themselves and what they have available to Me and be the one I use to make the impossible a reality?” This carries to a much bigger theme—what we consider impossible is not impossible, but an opportunity to God. May we see those things that way as well, and live in faith and greater expectancy and availability! May WE be the ones available and willing for God to use to make the impossible a reality!
4) Mary getting the news she would bear Jesus. Man’s perspective: a stigma of unwed pregnancy for life, possible rejection by family and friends, disbelief by even her fiancé, possible stoning (I understand). God’s perspective: the privilege of carrying the Christ-child, Savior in to the world. Through one set of eyes it is a cost, and a great one. Through the other there is no cost that could remotely compare to the privilege it offered. This, also, ties in to a much bigger issue. The cost of truly following Jesus, and the effort required to truly seek greater and greater measure of His face and presence, is, in worldly standards, great (rejection, scorn, loneliness, earthly pleasures, etc.—even from other Christians if we love and seek and worship God in abandoned ways they aren’t comfortable with or that challenge their own walk and hunger). But, when we consider the gain—the face and presence of God—the cost is, truly, so, so small if we can maintain the proper perspective.
These are just a few more examples that have come to me of issues of perspective—the world’s possible view on something versus God’s view on something. Our battle is, truly, to see through God’s eyes and heart and not ours, because, usually, the two are radically different and one spawns from the father of lies, and the other the God of the cross—our Creator. It is time to start thinking like citizens of heaven, with a perspective from God, rather than like citizens of earth.