Change the Way You See the World
I just read this on the back of our beach chair yesterday, and thought of the spiritual implications of this slogan. Also, that although we’ve owned that chair for over a year now, this was the first time I’d noticed the slogan— probably because I’m usually looking at the front of the chair, especially when my sweet, handsome, husband is sitting forward in it! However, this time, with the chair facing the beach, said husband had to turn around for me to take a picture of all the beautiful scenery (including his better side) at the same time.
So, in order to even gain awareness of this great truth embedded on the back of a beach chair, both my husband and I had to change the way we saw the world— he by turning in the opposite direction, and me by observing the chair from the back. Then, when I saw it, I shared it—right away—with someone I care about-- who will share it with others. Later, we both contemplated it further. Which led to me gleaning these useful lessons:
Ask --what is “the world”? It could be the whole world—every individual on the planet, governments, world news, and the environment. Or, it could be our own world—the people we know, those we meet, anyone we encounter, our neighborhood, workplace, school, anywhere we go-- the social, psychological, natural, and spiritual environment around us.
Realize and consider the way we view the world now. Do we have any prejudices based on things we’ve heard or been taught? What past experiences with individuals or certain kinds of people may color or distort the way we view them, or other like them, now? Do we unwittingly “put on rose-colored glasses” for some, while using “ugly-tinted contacts” for others, and/or experience mental astigmatisms with anyone? Maybe we just view people through the stigmas others have placed on them.
Change our perspective. We do this by first realizing we could be wrong and being willing to receive input and correction. Then, we need to sift through the information we get and discern what’s really true and helpful (1 Jn.4:1—“…test the spirits…”). Then ask the Lord for the ability to see people, our surroundings, and our circumstances the way He sees them. This especially includes the difficult ones that seem impossible to see any good in. People often say “look up”. That works. But I also like to say, “Look down”—i.e., see things and others from God’s perspective! He sees everything, the whole picture, from the “above” of total knowledge and eternal understanding. And He’ll bring us “up” and share that insight when we come to Him and ask. That’s even better than a “bird’s eye view”! Once we gain that, it changes our perspective and opinions.
How to notice and comprehend truth -- We have to intentionally place ourselves in the right position—much like when I went around behind the beach chair and finally noticed the words on the back of it. Wisdom and understanding of the truth don’t just occur by osmosis. We have to earnestly seek it. To find it more easily and make sure it’s real, bring along a Guide to lead us – the Holy Spirit “When he, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.” (Jn. 16:13) Then, we have to open our hearts to receive that truth. Otherwise, it would be like inviting a guest to our home and leaving them standing outside in the cold when they knock on the door!
Engage-- Act on the truth once we “get it”. Thankfully our Guide, the Holy Spirit, becomes our enabler when we ask for His help! “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Phil. 2:13).
Repeat—Keep doing the right thing in the right way over a long period of time. As with any skill, the right kind of practice, with the right Coach coming alongside us to support us, correct us if necessary, and keep us accountable, will build and reinforce right perspectives, leading to right attitudes and resulting actions. “Be diligent in [practice] these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.” (1 Tim. 4:15) “…He will give you another Helper [one who comes alongside] to be with you forever, the Spirit of truth” (Jn. 14:16)
Share it-- Inform, encourage, challenge, others with the truth that edifies and nourishes our lives. Those who love as Jesus loves, don’t hoard or withhold good. “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” (Prov. 3:27) “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Heb. 13:16) Yeah, others may reject it and us. It may also take time and energy we don’t feel we have. But we can’t let that stop us from feeding a world starving for truth, wisdom and hope in the midst of lies, foolishness, and despair.
Let the Lord change our hearts with His arrows of truth. Then, learn from the Master Archer to become His A.R.C.H.E.R.S sending encouraging and challenging truth into the hearts of those around us!