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June 1, 2011

Perspective

In his essay, ďMeditation In A Toolshed,Ē C.S. Lewis describes the difference between looking at a beam of light and looking along the beam: 

I was standing today in a dark toolshed.  The sun was shining outside and through the crack at the top of the door there came a sunbeam.  From where I stood that beam of light, with the specks of dust floating in it, was the most striking thing in the place.  Everything else was almost pitch-black.  I was seeing the beam, not seeing things by it.

Then I moved, so that the beam fell on my eyes.  Instantly the whole previous picture vanished.  I saw no toolshed, and (above all) no beam.  Instead I saw, framed in the irregular cranny at the top of the door, green leaves moving on the branches of a tree outside and beyond that, 90 odd million miles away, the sun.

Perspective is huge.  Our perspective on life, whether focused on God or elsewhere, will determine the way we live lifeóour character and morals, what we pursue in life, if we see futility or purpose, whether we live with despair or hope, and how we will respond to Godís precepts and principles.

Way too often my perspective letís me down.  Short sighted, self-focused, and with an incomplete understanding my actions often fall far short of my intentions.  Have you been there?  Admittedly, Godís perspective on life is way better than ours.

Psalm 37 contrasts the pursuits and destinies of the wicked and the righteous.  The wicked seemingly prosper while the righteous seem to continually suffer.  However, Psalm 37 reminds us that this is only a temporary state of affairs.  God will execute judgment.  The righteous will be vindicated.  Godís people will not only endure but be eternally blessed.  Psalm 37 instructs us to adopt Godís long haul perspective of life.

Psalm 37 is way too long to print out here.  But, I do encourage you to take the time to read it.  In Psalm 37 four commands encourage us in how to do life from Godís perspective:

1. Trust in the Lord (verse 3):  While the wicked are trusting in themselves we can have confidence and hope in the person, character, and promises of God.  We can choose to cling to the goodness and sovereignty of God who weaves everything together for the good of those who love Him (Genesis 45:5-13; Romans 8:28)

2. Delight yourself in the Lord (verse 4):  Spend time with God.  Seek God with all your heart.  Cultivate intimacy with God.  Discipline yourself to maintain regular times with the Lord in reading His word and in prayer.  (Psalm 73:28; Proverbs 3:5,6)

3. Commit your way to the Lord (verse 5):  Without holding anything back give all of your plans, dreams, hopes, and desires to God.  In the long run weíll never be able to keep the things were clinging to now anyway.  When we give everything to God we find that He really does bless us beyond measure.  Jim Elliott put this truth so well when he said, ďHe is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.Ē  (Proverbs 16:3; Luke 9:23,24)

4. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him (verses 7,9,34):  In the midst of lifeís adversities Godís timing and way of doing things never seem to fit our impatience and anxiousness.  But, trusting Him, we learn that He really does have it all under control.  His timing and working is perfect.  We can cast all of our anxieties on Him because He really does care for us.  (Psalm 27:14; 40:1-3; 1 Peter 5:6,7)