“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer
“We do not see things as they are, we see things as WE ARE.” – Anais Nin
“A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
“I want to know what God thinks. The rest are details.” – Albert Einstein
“Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” – Proverbs 4:23 GNT
When I think about the last twenty years of my life, I marvel at how much has changed. As I weigh all the changes that occurred, by far the largest transformation was my perspective – the belief system that shaped how I viewed each circumstance, situation, and event within my life.
I think it’s natural for our perspective to change over time. As we learn new insight, encounter varying situations, and face different obstacles, each nuance has a way of reshaping our viewpoint. In a very short period of time, my perspective on wealth, career, family, relationships, and priorities changed based on the events that were unfolding.
As this was taking place, I began to realize an important fact: Our perspective can have very little to do with the facts, the truth, and the reality within our situation. Often our perspective (based on our belief system) can become clouded with our individual interpretation of events and experiences – at times pulling us away from the truth within our circumstances.
Let me give you a few examples. An individual’s perspective on parenting might have been shaped by their own parent’s actions, but this perspective may be far from what is accurate and true when it comes to effective parenting. In the same way, my personal perspective on wealth and career was based on childhood and young-adult experiences – not rooted in truth and sound principles.
When you think about it, our perspective wields tremendous power – driving our thoughts, actions, and behaviors in all aspects of our life. What makes this a scary proposition is our perspective may be tainted – far from the reality, the facts and the truth necessary to living a productive and peaceful life.
Each of has a worldly perspective – a viewpoint on everything that encompasses our life as we know it. Like some of the examples I mentioned earlier; finances, family, friendships, parenting, and priorities all fall within the realm of our earthly perspectives.
As well, each of us has a spiritual perspective – how we view God, what principles and values we see as important, our thoughts on prayer, our view of Scriptures, etc.
I have often written that when we look in a mirror, we should see the spiritual person first – not our physical body and outward appearances. What drives us to be the individuals we are is spiritual in nature – that invisible, intangible aspect of our being that defines us, the part of us that lives far beyond the limitations of our body and our physical, earthly life.
With that in mind, we must place a higher priority on our spiritual perspective where truth and wisdom begin – allowing it to drive and shape our earthly perspective.
Unfortunately, we often do the exact opposite. We allow the events, circumstances and situations in our earthly life to drive and shape our spiritual perspective.
We see a world in chaos and conclude God can’t possibly be in control. We suffer with sickness and disease and assume God no longer heals. We see evil people succeed and good people destroyed, so we believe God isn’t interested in justice.
Bitterness and vengeance seem like better options than forgiveness and letting go. It seems more practical to look out for ourselves first and foremost, so we cast aside the idea of serving others and practicing humility.
How about you? Does your perspective have a spiritual foundation or is it driven by worldly views and experiences? Can you see how a spiritual perspective, one that is based on God’s values and principles, is rooted in truth and wisdom? Can you see the contrast between an earthly perspective and one that is spiritual in nature?
Earlier I mentioned how much my own perspective has changed in the last twenty years. My views were generally formed by past experiences and tended to follow the belief system that most of society embraced. What changed over the years was my relationship with God. As I drew closer to Him, my perspective moved from a worldly one to one based on my spiritual beliefs.
In your own life, can you see the power behind a spiritually centered perspective?
This kind of perspective rests comfortably in a Sovereign God who is always in control no matter what world events transpire. It believes that no sickness or disease is outside of God’s reach or ability to heal. It understands that injustice in this world is only temporary – eventually yielding to a God of righteousness and justice. It always embraces unconditional love and forgiveness, humility and service – following in the example that Christ gave us all.
Can you begin to see how a spiritual perspective will change how we view wealth or poverty, our career or lack of a job, and our family, friends or enemies? Can you see how your priorities will change?
Tonight, I hope you take some time to think about your own perspectives – evaluating how they were formed and determining their source. Ask yourself, “Are the perspectives I hold based in truth or have they become tainted in any way?” Take time to separate those based on earthly viewpoints, the opinions of the majority, and those grounded in a spiritual belief system. Embrace the power these perspectives have in your life – how they drive your thoughts, actions, and behaviors. Contemplate how they influence your peace and contentment – your priorities and direction.
May God grant you the strength and courage to maintain a spiritual perspective in a world that places value on those shaped by personal opinions and social influence.