Perspective is golden. Seventeen cents is of little value to a banker, but it makes a 3-year-old feel like a ba-zillionaire. A biscuit is a meager meal, unless you’re an ant.
Perspective – how you view the world – shapes your decision-making process. Your perspective has likely changed through the years because experiences, relationships, age, and life situations help shape your thinking. These outside influences are the very reason that you must choose wisely about the movies you watch, the company you keep, and the places you go, because each story you see played out before your eyes, each conversation, each life experience, is battling to sway your opinion. You can harness this power of influence to work to your advantage by submersing yourself in situations that will shape your perspective for the good, but the greatest influence on your perspective must be Jesus Christ.
Jesus saw the world differently than the people around Him. Even though His disciples were near Him, they often struggled to understand Christ’s teachings because their perspectives had been tainted by years of sitting under the tutelage of the world. One day the disciples came to Christ and asked, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:1)? The Romans would have answered that question from a pagan’s perspective; would they have said that the greatest is the one who is champion on the battlefield or the stealthiest strategist in the military tent? The Pharisees would have responded based on their legalistic perspective; would they have praised the one who was the chief law-keeper among law-keepers? But Jesus answered with the perspective of the King of the kingdom of heaven. He placed a child in their midst and answered, “Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (18:3-4). Jesus extolled humility; the greatest in God’s kingdom are those who are willing to be like children, to strip away layer upon layer of the world’s carnal influences, to put aside all of the world’s wisdom and stop relying on how smart we think we are, and to be molded and shaped anew by Christ.
As Christians, we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). This gift is given to every believer from God Himself. The mind of Christ is beyond ability to describe in its greatness, but as it applies to perspective, it might be described as an invaluable filtering system that helps you evaluate information with the attitude of Christ, or as a special lens that allows your eyes to see the world through the eyes of Christ.
If you’re a believer, does this mean that you already have Christ’s perspective? Not necessarily. Truly operating with the mind of Christ takes prayer, intentionality, and spiritual discipline, because Christ’s perspective doesn’t come naturally to us. Christ’s way of thinking is in direct opposition with the world and even with our own flesh, so taking Christ’s perspective means that we must choose to allow God to overrule our weaker ways of thinking. Having the mind of Christ is a gift; yielding to the mind of Christ is a choice.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:5-6 NKJV)
Excerpt from Lost on a Familiar Road by Kimberly Sowell