It’s a Beautiful View
Standing on a precipice in Arizona, overlooking the Grand Canyon, I was suddenly miniscule in size and consequence. I felt like a little piece of dust in a vast desert. Layered colors blazed from the canyon walls speaking of times long past. I couldn't help but wonder at the immensity of the world. The influence a view like that can have on a person is amazing. For the remainder of the day after visiting that tremendous canyon, I was humbled. It caused me to consider the significance of what we choose to focus upon each day of our lives.
What we choose to view in the world around us has a remarkable influence upon our attitudes, moods and thoughts. It is so easy here in the USA to get caught up in chasing the American dream and forget about things of greater import. What I choose to focus on may determine whether I have a good day or bad. An important daily question for every Christian soul is this: "Am I looking unto Christ, 'The author and finisher of our faith' as the model to which I conform? Am I like Peter when he stepped out to walk on the water and then took his eyes off of Jesus and started to sink? Am I seeing only the wind and waves or all the negative aspects of life?"
God offers a plethora of magnificent vistas. We become awestruck at His amazing creations; His sunsets, mountain ranges, waterfalls, flower strewn meadows, and such. These invoke a silent reverence in the soul as we see the power and splendor of our creator. Yet there is another scene that’s even more astounding, and we find it when we peer into the very heart of God, seeing and tasting His satiating, inexplicable love. Love in its purest form. There is nothing on this earth that could be held up in juxtaposition with divine love for comparison, no words that could capture its enormity, or its beauty.
However, we live in the world, where this awesome love must be displayed through us. It is a task that requires miraculous assistance. Maintaining this staggering view of unadulterated compassion and care is the only means I have found to share it. Yet, I fear that too many times my focus is on others. Mankind is naturally bent towards being more concerned over what someone else is doing or saying. The fallen nature of us humanoids is good at judging others while ignoring self. But in our new nature, given by Christ, we are also given power over sin. Through God's Spirit within us we can be the over-comers that God dreams for us to be. However, the only means of being successful, is remaining focused on our perfect model and on His beauty: Jesus.
"For those God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son" (Romans 8:29).
It is the sinful nature that is so adept at finding fault with another. It takes the spotlight off of me. Yet when I do that, I have strictly a horizontal view. Rather, to achieve a transformation into the likeness of the Son of God, we must think vertically, focusing our attention upwards to God, and then back down into our own hearts. We see Him clearly through the pages of the bible, and through His Son, Jesus. Daily bible reading and constant prayer are vital to every soul. We need that very humbling comparison to see ourselves in the light of His glory.
Our adversary, the devil is a master of deception. One of his favorite tactics is to convince me that I'm doing really great spiritually, because hey; "I'm doing better than Joe slick over there!" There will always be someone I can compare myself to that will make me feel pretty good about where I am in my spiritual maturity. However, that's a false view. It's a trap, one I know I've been snared in before and hope to never be again. That old sneaky snake is really crafty. He takes a prism that refracts attention and divides my focus. What he shows me is colorful to my old nature, catching my eyes, but what it leads to is only blackness. Talk about building a better mousetrap; he is a master builder of soul traps, baited with pride.
True perfection in holiness and righteousness can only be viewed by looking at Jesus, our awesome model. When we come into God's presence through prayer and bible study we see the goodness of God in all His magnificence and flawlessness. When His light shines upon us, it illumines our imperfections and weaknesses. We must see the areas that need work and know what they are. This is a prerequisite for change. We see the problem, we address it by repenting, seeking God's forgiveness, and in return we receive a spiritual blessing.
Do I really want to use a defective model or blueprints that are all wrong to fashion my new life after? Should I maintain a horizontal view and be transformed into the image of someone here on earth, someone who is flawed? I would rather be changed into the beautiful likeness of Jesus. Merciful, righteous, abounding in love, forgiveness and truth, that's the pattern Christians strive to emulate. None of us are perfect, so comparing ourselves to one another is just not acceptable.
When I keep my focus on the Lord and on my own walk with Him, I have a much better view, and am in the best position to encourage others to grow with me. Being humbled through the comparison of myself to the ultimate paradigm of righteousness also enables me to come alongside another person rather than elevating self to a position where I would be speaking down to them. In love, we hurt with them when they hurt, and we rejoice when they do as well. Speech flowing from a meek and humble spirit is more easily accepted.
By keeping our outlook vertical, the horizontal view looks different. We begin to see others with love filled spiritual eyes, instead of anger, envy or fear over another person's words or actions; we have the sometimes stinging pangs of love for them. We can then share the peace of God, in hopes of guiding them to a safe haven in Christ.
There is an intoxicating view that every soul should behold. It is found in the heart of God. His heart is expressed through His Son, Jesus and throughout the pages of the Bible. It's a beautiful view.
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