Were you excited about a fresh start and a new year? To be quite honest, the flip of the calendar seemed quite surreal to me. 2020 wasn't ever supposed to arrive. It should still be way off in the future. Right?
Anyone remember the cartoon, The Jetsons? They seemed to be an ordinary, American family with a dad (George), a mom (Jane), one son (Elroy), one daughter (Judy), and one dog named Astro. But this family was extraordinary - out of this world. Literally. They lived in a town in outer space and flew from place to place in their space car. They even had a robot maid named Rosie who carried on conversations with them like she was a real person. She cleaned, cooked, and washed. Everything was push-button, remote controlled, and voice activated. It was a life only us kids dreamed about in the 60s and 70s.
And look where we are now! We're living the Jetson dream. We may not live in outer space (though some of us act like we're from another planet at times), but we do have robot vacuum cleaners, wireless phones and televisions, remote control and voice activation everything - from lights to music, to cars and security systems.
So, what else is there to look forward to? Oh, there will be more, but if our only hope in life is waiting for the next best gadgets and new technology, Lord, help us. For believers, there's so much more to look forward to that's out of this world when Christ is the center of our world. So, the question is: How can we change a hopeless world's view, built around temporary things that come and go, to a perspective worth getting excited about?
First, we must examine our own perspective.
Since the early fall of 2019, my mind has been consumed with how faithful God has been over the past decade and ways I can remain faithful to Him in the next.
I believe with all my heart that we must learn to frame our thoughts with God's eternal perspective, enjoying His presence with us now (Emmanuel) while anticipating the forevermore to come.
While pondering the future, I was reminded of these three essentials for gaining an eternal perspective for the here and now:
The Word is not a compilation of ancient words bound in a leather bound book or contained in a Bible App. God's Word always has been and always will be.
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:7 NKJV).
The Word is alive. The Word is Christ.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God (John 1:1). The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).
The Word is Truth.
Jesus said to him [Thomas], "I am the way, the truth, and the life..." (John 14:6).
A daily dose of reading from the divinely inspired Scriptures is a must for maintaining a proper perspective, but allowing the Word to infiltrate our minds all through the day can be quite challenging. The beginning of a transformed mind begins with right thinking, an eternal point of view about God and life. As one thinks in his heart, so he is. (Proverbs 23:7)
We must engage with God's Word for Him to conform our minds to the mind of Christ. Jesus' mind was always on the Father and the Word. He knew the Scriptures backwards and forwards and everything in between. He quoted His own powerful words to defeat the devil's schemes when tempted and to He refuted the religious leaders' self-serving interpretations of the written Word. He always pointed them back to truth. Jesus was always engaging people in conversations with the portion of Scriptures they were privy to (The Torah), all while teaching them about who He was, the rest of His Word we have access to. If Jesus thought God's Word was essential to living life on earth, and He was perfect, then how much more should we train our minds to be engaged with the Word every day?
God's everyday, ordinary gifts in our lives are priceless treasures. Each one draws our attention to Him and His faithfulness to us. It's so easy to get caught up in the what-ifs or the if-onlys when life takes a sudden turn, dip, or detour we didn't see coming. When our focus drifts away from a good Father who has our good and His glory at the forefront of His mind, we can quickly spiral into a mindset of doom and gloom, missing the amazing gifts right before our eyes.
Detours and undetected turns are written into our stories to shape us into the image of His Son. So, instead of getting bent out of shape or being depressed, remember His blessings. Name them one by one. Give Him praise for the unexpected. You'll be amazed at how quickly your perspective will change.
The enemy of our souls is constantly baiting our minds with unnecessary distractions. Distractions like mindless entertainment, unhealthy and even toxic relationships, and my favorite, the lie that social media makes us more social. Our spiritual scales tilt out-of-balance when distractions weigh us down. It's a battle we must fight every single day. Our dependence on anything other than Christ to satisfy our cravings will weaken our faith and our influence in a world desperately crying out for something real and true, exciting and everlasting.
Majoring on the temporal not only affects us but also everyone around us, distorting our eternal perspective. This is how we get stuck in our own mud puddles of selfishness. When we choose to view our circumstances through the world's eyes, we fantasize. We lose focus on what's true, and we often find ourselves living in a fantasy world - one of make-believe we've designed for ourselves, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it's to cope with what we deem as uncomfortable. Sometimes it's to ignore conflict. Often times it's to justify our behavior or lifestyle outside the safe and holy parameters God has so lovingly given us. For others, building a fantasy world helps them escape life all together, not wanting to cope with anyone or anything.
Do you need a fresh perspective on life? Carve out some time today, or in the days to come, and pray. Ask God to help you bring to mind how you have traded His presence full of eternal joy for temporary pleasures that have left you dissatisfied.
We're never promised tomorrow, so today, in this moment, keep your eyes on Jesus. Trust Him with your yesterdays, today, and forever.
May 2020 be your best year yet.