Sunday, February 23, 2014

Perspective: The Key to Living Life to the Fullest

93 million miles away. 

The sun. 
A distant star, burning bright. 
And, yet. 
We feel its warmth. 
And, by its light, 
We see. 
This brilliant orb,
At times, 
Eclipsed by the moon, 
This great ball of fire in the sky
Covered by the hand,
A circle small enough,
It seems,
To control. 
Is more powerful than
Any man.
Whose gravity governs 
The paths of our solar system.
How much greater
Is the glory of the Lord
Our God
Which outshines
The heavens?

It's all perspective as the saying goes. The problems in our lives, the things that consume us, that weigh us down, may be bigger as we think. The more we dwell on them, the larger they become.

Now, I'm not for pretense or slapping on a smile all of the time. I believe there is a time for everything under the sun (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8). I have known my fair share joy and sorrow. And, from the worry lines on my brow, I confess that many times, my response has been dependent on my circumstances.

It's hard to see beyond our experience, isn't it?

Three things are crucial to our perception: orthodoxy, orthopathos, and orthopraxy.

Orthodoxy—Right Thoughts or Beliefs

Orthopathos—Right Feelings

Orthopraxy —Right Actions

The problem is, not one of us has holds to these perfectly.

Mankind has fallen.

In the beginning, we were deceived by the devil and believed the lie that God is holding out on us. At times, we still believe that lie.

We confess to know God, but our deeds are far from godly. We wage war with one another in big ways and small ways. We do not extend our hands to the poor. We do not like or understand God's ways, so we seek to make Him in our own image.

We become overly familiar with God and do not give Him the reverence He is due. When we don't get our way, we think Him distant or a tyrant and shake our fists in the air. We turn our backs on Him. We think, He must not love us. We are unwilling to do the things He wants because we love those things more than Him.

We need redemption.

It seems we have fallen so far, but the greater the fall, the more we perceive our need for a Savior.

And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17 ESV

When we are awakened to the fact that we are sinners, we feel both ashamed of ourselves and heavily burdened with a guilty conscience.

But, Jesus is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18, Psalm 147:3, Isaiah 61:1)

He loves us.

So much that He laid down His life for us to save us from our sins.

We need not fear in coming to Him.

Confessing our sins.

Acknowledging His righteousness.

Receiving His grace.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. 1 John 3:1 ESV

The moment we first put our faith, our hope, our trust in Christ, we become children of God. We experience our heavenly Father's love for us, the sacrificial love of Christ, the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

It's like the caterpillar that begins the great metamorphosis that ends in a new creation, a butterfly. When we die to ourselves and live for Christ, we change into something beautiful.

We begin to love God and others.

We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 ESV

Our wants, our needs, our desires become secondary to living a sacrificial life for the sake of the Kingdom of Christ our King (Romans 12:1).

We need not fear. Our Good Shepherd, who laid down His life for us will take care of all our needs (John 10:11).

Let us come to Jesus...and may we live life to the fullest in light of His glory and grace...

    "The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe."
      (Proverbs 18:10)