Perspective is a funny thing. I remember when I was a child, being so fascinated with those optical illusion puzzles where the static picture seemed to move and take on different shapes right before my eyes. Or I could look at the picture for hours and see nothing a bunch of multi-colored circles, while someone else would look at it and see a lion, ready to pounce from the canvas onto the unsuspecting onlookers.
It is always intriguing to me when two or more people can discuss or see something and have very different thoughts and views on it. It’s because of perspective. The way I am likely to see or perceive a certain thing is largely due to my relationship to or view of that thing. Perspective is powerful.
In his book The Knowledge Of The Holy, A.W. Tozer says:
“… the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at any given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like… were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, ‘what comes to your mind when you think about God?’ we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man.”
Essentially, he is saying that it’s not about the “what” that you do, but about “why” you do it. It’s not about what you see but why you see it that way. Perspective projects performance. In other words, how I see something is pretty indicative of how I will respond in my thoughts and behavior.
How you think about God will determine who you become. You aren’t just a byproduct of “nature” and “nurture”. You are a byproduct of your God-picture. And that internal picture of God determines how you see everything else.
Most of our problems are not circumstantial. Most of our problems are perceptual. Our biggest problems can be traced back to an inadequate understanding of who God is. Our problems seem really big because our God seems really small. In fact, we reduce God to the size of our biggest problem.
That is powerful stuff right there. In fact, what both Tozer and Batterson are saying is that the perspective we hold is the true barometer of our heart, which will, in turn, be the thermometer for our life. A healthy “God-picture” or perspective will produce life, love, justice, grace and mercy because those things are the heartbeat of the Father. At the same time, a warped “God-picture” will essentially preclude any of those same things from taking root and flourishing, not because of what we say or do, but because of what we, in our heart, believe.
Tozer goes on to say, a “low view of God… is the cause of a hundred lesser evils.” But a person with a high view of God “is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems.”
less like tearing, more like building / less like captive, more like willing
less like breakdown, more like surrender / less like haunting, more like remember
less like a prison, more like my room / it’s less like a casket, more like a womb
less like dying, more like transcending / less like fear, less like an ending
and I feel You here, and You’re picking up the pieces, forever faithful
it seemed out of my hands, a bad situation, but You are able
and in Your hands the pain and hurt look less like scars
and more like character
Wow. It takes quite a “high view of God” to be able to look at what you thought hurt you, and realize that it really came to develop character. To me it looks like a scar, but in God’s eyes, his character is being revealed in my life. But that is precisely what a “high view of God” produces… healthy perspective.
Sometimes it takes being on the other side of something to be able to really embrace that kind of perspective. But after you’ve been through enough of those experiences and had your perspective challenged and changed, you should find yourself grasping a high view of God in the middle of the situation. 2 Corinthians 4:16-19 is a great perspective verse. It truly takes a “high view of God” for Paul to be able to confidently say, in the present tense:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
I will say that my “God-picture” has changed dramatically, even over the course of the last year and several months specifically. It’s part of this amazing journey I’m on. My God-picture was warped for most of my life. But I can testify first hand that the adjustment of my view of God has indeed changed how I see absolutely everything, and it is rocking my world.
Author Andy Andrews wrote a great book called “The Noticer”, which is all about the power of perspective in your life. In the book, one of the central characters, Jones, weaves in and out of folks’ lives, always challenging them on their perspective and encouraging them to embrace a higher view. It is an amazing book that really impacted me and I highly recommend it.
There are so many applications for this topic, and I’ll jump back on this a little later, but it’s really been stirring in me lately so I wanted to go ahead and jump into it now.
What perspective governs your life and how have you seen your “God-picture” change over the years?
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255M: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”