Podcast Of This Message
AS WE GO ABOUT OUR LIVES AT TIMES WE ARE VICTIMS OF A LACK OF PERSPECTIVE. You see as I was preparing to write this blog I was once again distracted by my dog Winnie, who jumped up beside me despite the unbearable heat in the house. I was trying to discover what it was that I should talk about this week but every couple of minutes my dog started gnawing on her back foot. I ignored it the first few times but then I leaned in to see if there was some grass or seeds stuck in there from an earlier trip to the park. The thing is that I couldn’t find more than a blade of grass or so, but Winnie just kept on gnawing and pulling at her foot. I also started to smell the familiar aroma of fake grapes, you know that smell from candy that is in no way related to the fruit its named after, yeah that smell.
So I flipped over her paw and saw a bunch of dead grass mixed in with some gum or some other kind of candy. Now that I knew what was going on I grabbed some paper towels and started to clean her but she wouldn’t cooperate. All of my attempts to clean her foot were met with headbutts and her nipping the top of her foot. I then unleashed the big gun one of her favorite snacks, a stick made out of sweet potato and bacon. Finally, I was able get to work cleaning her and getting all of the mess off of her foot.
She knew something was wrong but she was gnawing on the wrong place and wasn’t actually doing anything the make things better. My dog lacked the perspective to see what was really going on with her foot and she lacked the dexterity to see the sticky problem causing her irritation.
I wonder how often that happens to us as believers, we feel an irritation somewhere in our lives so we just blindly start gnawing in the general direction and hope that it makes things better. We don’t know exactly what is going on but we can narrow it down to a general area of our lives. Problems such as figuring out our purpose, general frustrations of life, bills unable to be paid, life feeling empty, prayers appearing as if they are unanswered, struggles with sin, and troubles at home, work, school and so on.
A Different Set of Rules
We feel something is out of place but we can’t see what is going on, we need help from someone with a better and a higher perspective. Just like Winnie needed my help to get the gum or what ever it was off of her foot so to do we need God to help us in our daily lives. God knows all and sees all and is a whole lot smarter than we are. God said through the prophet Isaiah that “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways” (Is 55:8).
This means that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit see things from a different perspective than we do. It also means that He has different means to solve problems than what we would come up with on our own. Think of the story of Gideon, he was told to conquer the Midianites by waving around torches, pots and playing trumpets. Three hundred guys facing an army of untold thousands and all they were supposed to do was blow some trumpets and break some pots. That was far from a sound military strategy, but it worked.
We see the same expression of God’s higher and different ways through Jesus who at face value did everything that a Messiah was supposed to do wrong. He didn’t build a school, He didn’t fight the Romans. He didn’t set up a new Davidic Kingdom, He didn’t advocate for vengeance on Israel’s enemies, He constantly stood against the Pharisees and on and on. Jesus in the eyes of the people around Him was a failure, but in God’s eyes He was an astounding success.
Jesus in the eyes of the people around Him was a failure, but in God’s eyes He was an astounding success.
We have to imitate Jesus’ perspective
Jesus speaks about Heavenly things as one who calls Heaven His home, so He has a full perspective of the universe and all of creation. He knows us better than we know ourselves and He knows the end result of any course of action we take. This is why teachings such as the Beatitudes are so hard for us to apply, because it goes against our natural desires and calibrates us to God’s desires.
We must remember that we have been called to have the Mind of Christ, to act as He acted, to believe as He believed and to have our souls and bodies submitted to our spirit as He did. To disconnect ourselves from how we lived before and to renew our minds to conform with His ways not our own. Paul calls this having our minds renewed (Romans 12:2) and He encourages us to set our minds on things that are higher than ourselves and our world (Colossians3:1-3). Otherwise we are doing nothing more than getting our feet covered in mud, gum, twigs and rocks which not only slow us down but cause endless frustration and pain.
Did you know that Jesus watches and judges us by our thoughts and motives (Matt 5:28), as opposed to people who watch and judge us by our actions? This can be hard for us to grasp at times, but it is critical to our walk with God. You see when we filter our hearts through Matthew 5, Galatians 5 and 1 Corinthians 13 eventually we will be changed for the better. It won’t happen overnight but over time, through trials and temptations these pillars of life become the roots by which the fruits and gifts flow out of. If someone expects that love will grow out of our miracles, or patience out of prophesying, they have no real roots and will wither away either from temptations, a dry season, or a lack of patience.
A two-part process
This is a two-part process, we are to look at the world, ourselves and others through the same lens that Jesus does. While the second part is a constant reminder for us to turn to God when we have trouble, irritations, frustrations, problems. Just like my dog Winnie she was unable to fix her foot without outside help, help that could see things she couldn’t and actually bring relief. When we make time for God and when we make Him the first place and we go to Him when we have problems then we are more likely to find relief. Or at the very least the strength to endure because God does not always bring an instantaneous remedy to our problems.
Jesus watches and judges us by our thoughts and motives, as opposed to people who watch and judge us by our actions.
With Winnie I spent about 30 minutes cleaning, combing and cleaning her back paw. It wasn’t a band aid type clean up it took time and I had to keep her distracted with her chew stick the whole time, otherwise she would try to “help” and make things harder to deal with. Perhaps it is the same with us and God sometimes, as God uses His higher perspective to bring us relief, or answers to prayers. However often we are so focused on the problem that we are flailing around and making it harder for Him to finish His work. If only we had some sort of distraction like Winnie’s sweet potato and bacon chew to help us through the operation. If we think about it we do and it comes in the forms of worship, praise, the presence of the Holy Spirit and our faith in God’s role as our loving Father.
Philippians 2:5-11 “5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (NKJV)
Outsourcing God: How Good Sheep Get Lost by Cameron Conway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.