Thursday, January 5, 2017

An Elevated Perspective

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 
-II Corinthians 3:18

The state tree of Michigan, my home state, is the white pine.  Though not the tallest tree in the world, it is a tall tree.  If I were hiking through the forest and needed an elevated perspective, certainly the top of a tall white pine would provide that, if I could get there.  Likewise, when we walk through life’s trials, sometimes we need an elevated perspective.  We need to be able to rise above the difficulties we see around us, and get a higher view.  We need to see what God sees.

We may pray for problems to go away or for circumstances to change, but God may have a greater purpose than simply fixing the problem.  When circumstances test our faith, we may question God’s faithfulness.  We may get frustrated or angry with the process.  We may get bogged down with discouragement.  Often we see things from our limited perspective.  But God has an elevated perspective to offer us, if we will humble ourselves and seek Him.  In Him we can obtain “the mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:16).

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”  What is God’s purpose?  Certainly God’s purpose is to save people.  Jesus said, “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).  But once we have come to Christ, God’s purpose is to make us like Jesus.  He wants to transform our lives, from glory to glory, healing us, restoring us, and perfecting us into His likeness.

Romans 8:29 says, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…”  God often uses life’s trials to form within us the nature and character of Christ.  When Christ emerges from our pain, God is glorified.  In our trials, what we need to do is draw near to Christ in faith.  Rather than becoming bitter, we need to allow Him to change us from the inside.  The temptation is often to allow bitterness and disappointment to settle in our hearts.  But when we begin to allow Christ be formed in us, the work of transformation has begun and victory is near.  

God changes us from glory to glory.  It’s a process, a continual, ongoing process.  We are ever in the process of becoming more and more like Jesus.  I think God is less concerned with how far we’ve come, and more concerned that we are making progress.  We are growing, little by little every day.  Sometimes we are ourselves unaware of our own growth.  You may in fact be growing much more than you realize.  But right now, because you're in the midst of the difficulty, you just can't see it.  You may feel like a failure, but God is watching you, and He is saying, "I'm so proud of you."

If you know you're not where you should be, that's okay.  Maybe right now is a good time to stop and take inventory.  Are you becoming more loving or more bitter?  Are you becoming more cynical or more hopeful?  Take a look at your heart.  Once you have taken stock of where you're at, give yourself some grace.  We “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18).  If necessary, re-commit yourself today to seeking the Lord and getting in His Word.  Allow Him to provide you with the perspective you need.  He will lead us into greater dimensions of His Spirit, greater depths of healing, greater levels of intimacy with Him, and to greater heights of victory.  

Prayer Equals Peace

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow...