Life Lessons: A Matter of Perspective
This is directly related to what was shared in “Renewing Our Minds”. We learn spiritual lessons in and through the natural world. Our environment, the people and events that we encounter and experience are not random; they are life lessons. Our Father gives us ample opportunity to practice what we preach, as the saying goes; to exercise our discernment. “For in him we live, and move, and have our being” Acts 17:28 – literally. If we are born again, growing up in Christ, then HE is living within us just as scripture states. We, our natural man, are being conformed to HIM; we are being changed until as Paul stated in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
This past week I was summoned to jury duty in Federal Court. Now this summons was not something that “I desired” to do; quite the contrary. I had never been selected to serve as a juror, yet when it happened, I went into it with my eyes open to see… ‘what does the Lord want me to learn from this?’
Initially, I recognized my own immediate response to being summoned was; “I don’t want to do this.” Followed by a long list of justifications for why not, substantiated by everyone I told about it. When I appeared for the process, there were 35 of us, so we all thought that the odds were pretty good we would not be chosen. A handful of prospective jurors were dismissed right away, then they called a recess and sent us out. When we were called back in there was no more discussion. Our numbers were called out and we were seated. We all now have to put our regular lives on hold for two weeks, and perform our civic duty. We are barely half-way through, yet it has already been an eye-opening experience.
It is all a matter of perspective. Whose eyes are we looking through? We were instructed not to make up our minds before hearing all the evidence, and for good reason. As each side presents their case, they are very sincere and very convincing. The plaintiff’s expert witness was very confident and assured as he stated his reasons for justifying the plaintiff’s case, but he completely fell apart under cross-examination. As I watched, it became obvious that he was so zeroed in on his own thoughts; so suspicious and defensive to his statements being questioned, that he lost the capacity to even ‘listen’ to the questions. They were not nearly as difficult as he was making them. He ended up looking ridiculous, simply because he was so centered on himself; trying to remember what he wanted to say, his point of view, that he defeated his own credibility.
What stood out to me in the spiritual parallel is that we are all too guilty of doing the exact same thing. We are called to be ‘living epistle’s'… read of all men. What we fail to realize is that we ARE just that. People are reading us every single day, wherever we are, whatever we are doing. And sad to say, our credibility is undermined every time we respond or act from our own wisdom and knowledge. Ever since the fall of man, he has been feeding from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Christ came to restore our relationship to God, that we might be partakers of HIS LIFE, now, while still in this world. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows every situation we will ever encounter, every pain we will ever feel, everything we have need of. We need only ask, believing, and we will receive all that we have need of.
Our problem usually is that what we actually need, and what we think we need, are two different things. Our perspective is far more often carnally minded, than it is spiritually minded. By ‘spiritually minded,’ I am not referring to our religious points of view, for they are being dismantled and done away with. “To have the mind of Christ” Paul referenced is to lay down our own thoughts. Incorporating religious thinking is not having the mind of Christ… it is simply being religious. And just as the two sides are bantering words and points of view back and forth in this trial, so believers demonstrate what spirit they are operating from when they engage in disputes with other believers over differences in perspectives.
We can all make credible presentations for our beliefs when we have time to prepare; but how well do we come across when we are cross-examined? What are we reflecting in our daily lives? How do we respond to things that we don’t agree with?
We need to learn how to listen. First and foremost; “Be still and know that I am God.” We might learn a whole lot if we just start listening to ourselves; to what is actually coming out of our own mouths. How many times in the course of any given day would we hear ourselves say: “I don’t want”… “I don’t like”… “I couldn’t do”… “that’s not me”… “I don’t believe”… “I would never”… all with conviction, all from our perspective and our point of view? It is really quite revealing when we start paying attention, just how much we do this. It is even more revealing when we realize that no matter what religious justifications we apply, it is still all about “I”.
We can become so locked into our perspective that we become deaf and dumb to any and everything that we perceive as a threat to that perspective. How easily we can lose sight of the fact that “the battle is the Lord’s.” We can lose sight of the fact that “the battle is not yours, but God’s.” For all of our beliefs and opinions, we are still dependent upon God to deliver us from ourselves… “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” is beyond our ability to perform. May we be delivered from all that is carnal and fleshly; including our perspectives. God’s law far surpasses the laws of men.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death,” Romans 8:2. We have to answer to a much higher power than the courts of men. We have to give an accounting for what we have done with what we have been given…. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us,” 2 Corinthians 4:7.
Consider this pertinent quote from T. Austin-Sparks…. “if we are occupied with ourselves, there will be no glory. If we are occupied with other people, there will be no glory. If we are occupied with this world, there will be no glory. But when we look on the Lord Jesus and see that God is perfectly satisfied with Him, and I make room for the Lord Jesus in my heart, and I see that Jesus in my heart satisfies God, then I at once come to rest, I come to joy, I come to peace. And this joy, and this rest, and this peace, is the glory of God in my heart. It is the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ….
God has shined into our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, and you see that becomes the testimony; that it is that joy, and that rest, and that peace that has got to be seen in us. So the Apostle goes on to say, “See, we have this ministry.” What is this ministry? It is the shining out of what God has shined in. It is the showing forth of the glory of the Lord Jesus. May we all have that ministry.” [end quote].
May we all have that ministry; shining forth the glory of the Lord Jesus.
Amen & Amen