Nearer Than
When We First Believed

Dr. R. Clifford Jones, President.
Lake Region Conference.

The Power of a Proper Perspective
            It has been said that what you see depends on where you’re standing.   In other words, your position or perspective largely determines what you behold.   If that is true, and I believe it is, then it is important that attention to given to the matter of perspective.  There is power in having a proper perspective, and Christians are particularly aware of this fact.
            First, a proper perspective depends on prayer.   Prayer draws us closer to God, and the proximity and intimacy lead to a proper perspective.  The life of Jesus Christ provides proof of this truth (Matt. 26:39-46). 
            Second, a proper perspective triggers praise.   “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1).   David wrote those words as he was being driven away by Abimelech.   David could praise God in the dire straits in which he found himself because of the proper perspective he had on things.   David knew that God was on his side and that “the angel of the Lord encampeth round them that fear him and delivereth them” (Psalm 34:7).    David praised God in his good times and in his bad times, when he was up and when he was down, when he had much and when he had little or nothing.   And his attitude was due to the proper perspective he had about life and God, whom he believed ruled in the affairs of his life with eyes single to his welfare and happiness.
            Another Bible character whose proper perspective triggered praise was Paul.   The life of the apostle to the Gentiles was a symphony of praise that was grounded in the grace of God (2 Cor. 12:9).   Given his early life of persecuting the followers of Jesus Christ, Paul knew that he was nothing apart from the grace of God (1 Cor. 15:10).   Once he accepted Jesus as his personal Savior, Paul, in spite of his pedigree and learning, experienced myriad struggles and challenges (1 Cor. 4:8-10).   What the apostle went through would have made the average human being wilt and quit.   Not Paul, who admonished the Philippians to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:11).   Elsewhere, Paul encouraged, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18).   As with the Psalmist David, praise was continually on the lips of the apostle Paul.
            Finally, a proper perspective leads to peace.   That ours is a world that triggers trauma and stress is beyond doubt.   Humankind is anxious about life present and future, and few people are able to deal with their angst in helpful and meaningful ways.   Yet the proper perspective that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord leads to peace (Rom. 8:28).   Such peace passes all understanding and is grounded in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace (Phil. 4:7; Isa. 9:6).   Such peace comes from knowing that God will never place on His children more than they can bear, “but will with the temptation also make a way to escape,” that they will be able to bear it (1 Cor. 10:13).  
            This Thanksgiving season, please pay attention to your perspective, remembering as you do that a proper perspective depends on prayer, triggers  praise, and leads to peace.   “In everything give thanks.”
R. Clifford Jones



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