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Perspective Controls What You See

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To paraphrase a C.S. Lewis quote, “what you see and hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what kind of person you are.”  His wisdom in that quote applies across much of life. First, let’s consider his obvious point about physical perspective. If you are sitting in the seat of mockers, you are going to see an object to target for ridicule. If you are sitting at the feet of a wise person, you are more likely to hear useful things, and to develop a view that helps you find a path to a life of worth and meaning. If you are sitting on a mountain top, you will see all the country beneath you. And if you are sitting in the dark, you won’t see anything at all. 

Perspective is important psychologically. When we recognize that God is all powerful, and that we occupy a place in his treasured family, we can rest assured that even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death we have no need to fear evil, and we can expect a kind of comfort (Psalm 23:1-4). But if we lose that perspective, we drown in fear. Peter is literal proof. When his perspective was dominated by the Lord of the wind and the waves, he triumphed over both. As his perspective switched from the Lord and onto the wind and waves, he began to succumb to both (Matthew 14:22-33). We need never be in the position that Peter suffered, because God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of self-control (2 Peter 1:7).

Which brings us to Lewis’s second point. What you see depends also on what kind of person you are. If you are a skillful person you will see kings up close (Proverbs 22:29). If you are an angry person, you will see yourself ensnared (Proverbs 22:24-25). People will see things based on whether they are positive, or negative, or spiritually minded.

Thankfully, we have the ability to realize both of Lewis’s points. When we put ourselves into a position to be around wise people who walk with God, then we are prone to see God working in the physical world around us. Inevitably, we will begin to see things from God’s perspective. When we lay hold of that perspective, he then works to transform us (2 Corinthians 5:17)! Not only do we become a totally new kind of creature, but we are able to see love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Have you considered from what perspective you are viewing the world, or what kind of person you happen to be?

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