Perspective matters because it reveals what you believe about God.
12 I want you to know, brothers that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. 15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.
It’s human to look through the lens of circumstance – to look around at a world filled with challenges and begin to complain about everything you have to deal with. The pile of dirty dishes, the stress at work, the people you live with, the inevitable traffic, the lag in internet connection, you can fill in the blank. Unless you’re a naïve optimist, you may get caught up in the whirlwind of life and feel a heavy weight from your viewpoint. But, the more you see life from a negative lens, the more you begin to question the character of God – seeing him as inactive, uncaring, stingy and perhaps demanding.
Perspective matters because it reveals what you believe about God. In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, it’s clear Paul believes God to be remarkably active in his movements to advance the kingdom, completely loving even while allowing Paul to endure house arrest, and overwhelmingly generous to offer an opportunity to preach to the Roman guards. This passage reveals Paul’s heart toward God. He believes God is someone to enjoy – both now and forevermore – as well as someone to serve. This perspective gives him to freedom to face death, courage to press on and overwhelming joy in it all.
When you begin to see life as an opportunity to live with God – to enjoy and serve him, you’ll begin to notice the little irritations as opportunities to bring God’s light into your current situation. You’ll begin see even trials as God’s movement for your good – even your best. And better yet, you’ll begin to experience God as he truly is. You can embrace this perspective because you can choose the attitude that agrees with what you believe about God.
On Sunday, Scott Wenig said, “shifting your perspective in hard times can make or break you.” If you’re willing to shift your perspective, God can take you down the pathway to true joy and the genuine happiness God has hard-wired into you. Today, watch Phil Bjorklund, one of our South Fellowship missionaries, as he shares about how God shifted his perspective about the genocide and evacuation in Rwanda.
By Yvonne Biel