2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (NLT)
So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
There may be several witnesses to a certain event and each one have their own account of what happened. Their story will be based on their perspective during the encounter. Some will be influenced not only by what they saw with their own eyes, but the opinions and attitudes of others who might have been with them at the time. The truth can become cluttered by theory not necessarily from the actual event but made more complete with the judgment of others added as truth. It happens all the time. Truth in this world is diluted. One cannot always depend on what they see, hear, and feel to be the most relevant factors in life but we do. Just because I see something does not mean that I know the whole scope in its entirety. We make broad assumptions and run off in all directions with a tidbit of information like a squirrel who has found a tiny nut.
So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. How is this possible in the life we live each day? If we do test the spirits and weigh words for truth inspect deeds for validity, how will we make right choices and good connections in life? My mom used to say, “Birds of a feather flock together.” She was right. You associate most with those with whom you identify. My mom is very practical. She is also very matter of fact. She does not struggle with truth but lives well within it. When we decide to make Jesus our Savior and Lord, it changes how we view things or at least it should? As a young person, my mom challenged us to make good choices in our companions. To decide who we hung out with based on the evidence in their life. We were to stay in the social circles most like us. However, when coming to Jesus, we must step out of our human viewpoint and step into His Vantage Point for life. This is very difficult sometimes to shake the opinions and attitudes developed for worldly survival to surrender our life to Jesus.
John 17:14-19 (NLT)
I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.
I have discovered that I have undergone an amazing transformation. Right before our son was diagnosed with cancer, things were going great. My career was booming. We were prospering. All the details of our life seemed to be falling into place. When tragedy struck, the Lord was quick to give us His Word that our son would live and not die so we traveled by faith from hope to healing. From the moment that my world came crashing down, I never felt fear or anxiety that he would not make it. The Word of God surrounded my broken and devastated heart with peace. However, as any family enduring extreme hardship can attest, such an experience leaves no part of natural life untouched. When it was over, I did try to return to my normal life. Life was not the same. I could not go back to the same routine and role I played before. I became very depressed and overwhelmed. Life was different. I had changed and could not wrap my head around it.
I remember the night I finally saw my life as God intended. It was the night of our son’s port removal that would mark the end of treatment. It should be a day of celebration but all I felt was exhaustion. I raced home from the hospital feeling a tug in my heart to attend a youth worship service with our girls. Making it just in time to change cars and ride to church, I didn’t expect anything other than to bask in the Presence of God. When I opened the door, it was as though Jesus caught me at the finish line. You made it! In one night with teenagers and few adults, my point of view changed as I realized I was not lost in the fight and had finished the course. In that moment, Jesus began to take off the cocoon over my heart and mind. Clearly I could see that in the process of faith, He had made me new. I could not operate as I had before because I was a new creation. My point of view had changed. My life had changed. Everything inside me was different.
How is that possible? To love God and serve Him faithfully yet find that you have become lost in life. Friend, it is the process. God turning us day by day, moment by moment until all we see is His Face. He is always working for us. Repentance is the process by which we turn more and more of our life, heart and mind over to the Lord for His Redemptive Power to make something useful and productive with the purpose hidden in us. Renewing us from the inside out. Changes us in the midst of adversity. Producing new fruit under pressure. He is recreating us from the moment that we say, “Yes” to Jesus and choose to walk His Way. We live from glory to glory. Our life is victory to victory. Even when we do not understand the process or the meaning of those things we endure, the Lord works all things together for our good. (Romans 8:28)
Matthew 16:21-24 (NLT)
From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead. But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.
It is human nature to make assumptions in life. To take what we see wrap it in what we know and form an opinion. Until we take what we see compare to faith and wash it in the Word of God, our opinions are assumptions that have no validity or truth. They should not form our next step or make a choice. Jesus shared His journey with twelve men. He had many followers but these were the ones who gave up their life to follow the Lord. Even in their submission and sacrifice, they all had very human ideas and notions of what was to come. When Jesus shared that He was about to die for them, Peter proclaimed, “Heaven forbid, Lord…this will never happen to you!” Jesus immediately rebuked Peter. He warned His follower and friend, “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view and not from God’s.” It happens to the best of us. We live in this world but are not of it.
As Jesus prayed in John 17, it was for us. Jesus already knew we would struggle between faith and what we perceive to be reality. Repentance is a perpetual process of turning our human nature, every thought, every misconception that becomes sin over to the Lord as we turn to see Him fully and follow Him completely. It is a tragedy of faith to think that we have arrived in Jesus Christ while we walk on the earth. This is not fully accomplished until we meet Him face-to-face. Jesus went on to share with them, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.” Jesus gives us His Word. We tell the Lord what we are going to do with that word. Rather than following Jesus, we end up standing between the Lord and our blessing. If one truly desires Heaven to come to earth, we must get out of the way. We must repent and follow Jesus. With each leg of our journey, God produces more of His Character in us. He makes us more like Him but only if we yield our body, mind and spirit to the process of healing, deliverance, renewal and restoration in Jesus Christ.
We must cast down every thought that rebels against God’s Way. His Plan is perfect and takes every detail (good or bad) making it complete and lacking nothing for those who give up their own point of view to look at life through Jesus. We can only do that if we choose to follow Him rather than standing in front of Him demanding our own way. We have a right to an opinion but that opinion means nothing. The Word of God is the Truth that dictates success in our life. Grace makes it possible. Weakness allows His Strength to take over. We must hold tight to faith and let go of our need to be in control and right all the time.
Romans 3:1-6 (NLT)
Then what’s the advantage of being a Jew? Is there any value in the ceremony of circumcision? Yes, there are great benefits! First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the whole revelation of God. True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful? Of course not! Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true. As the Scriptures say about him, “You will be proved right in what you say, and you will win your case in court.” “But,” some might say, “our sinfulness serves a good purpose, for it helps people see how righteous God is. Isn’t it unfair, then, for him to punish us?” (This is merely a human point of view.) Of course not! If God were not entirely fair, how would he be qualified to judge the world?
In Matthew 26:62-63 and Matthew 27:12-13, Jesus goes before the council of religious leaders and then the natural government. The interrogate Jesus and beat him demanding Him to provide an answer to their accusations but Jesus remained silent. He did not give them any response just endured the persecution and torture on the way to the Cross. I think that we as Christians should take the same stand in life. We do not have to answer our accusers or defend our faith. We do not have to try to convince anyone in word or deed that Jesus is the Messiah. I know you are getting riled up a bit because I am messing with religion. I am not anti-church. I am not anti-religion either. Faith without works is definitely dead. A barren life that does not produce spiritual fruit is cursed. Where the Spirit is there is freedom and liberty. However, until we allow the Lord to change our point of view until we see life and those in it exactly as He seems them – we are in danger of getting in front of Jesus rather than following Him.
We are to live by faith. Faith that believes completely in the hope that we have in Jesus. Faith makes the impossible totally possible. However, when we take God’s Word, His Way or His Will and turn it for our own good, to support our opinion, or prove that we are right – we are danger of becoming religious rather than righteous. The Lord never ignored the people in each place. He responded to their need never their demands. People cried to be healed from their present infirmity, but Jesus saved them from their sins and told them to walk in freedom. See we somehow get wrapped up in today and try to keep the Lord bound here when He is interested in our future. The world does not need another person to tell them they are cursed and going to hell. They need humble and committed followers of Jesus Christ who exalt His Name and not their own to take them with them. I am no better than a mass murderer on death row who ruthlessly and savagely takes the life of others without cause. Jesus died for him, too. The only difference is the grace that I have discovered. The grace that changed me when I thought I was standing on faith and fighting the good fight but was dying inside. Jesus peeled away the layers of hurt, devastation, sin, shame, guilt, depression, and I discovered a new life from a new perspective. My point of view is Jesus. Nothing I do or say is of any worth unless it exalts and magnifies His Name in my life. I am nothing without Him. I can do nothing apart from my Savior and Lord.
Philippians 4:6-9 (NLT)
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
God is greater than our feelings. (I John 3:19-20) We feel many emotions in life. They can be quite overwhelming. Emotional overload can drown out the Voice of God who speaks in an intimate whisper. Are you worried? Are you stressed? Are you anxious? Are you depressed? Are you overwhelmed? Are you overpowered? Are you isolated? Do you feel betrayed or abandoned? These are all lies that the enemy uses to overpower our thoughts and change our point of view about Jesus. These are faith-killers, hope-sinkers, joy-robbers, dream-crushers and not of God. It says that if we surrender our life to Him that God will give us peace that exceeds anything we can understand.
If you are living in any of these emotional states, it is time to turn back to Jesus. Yes if you who is a minister, teacher, deacon, or apostle. You cannot take others to a place that you have never been or show them something you do not know. We all will find ourselves succumbed to a lie from time to time. It is the enemy’s first strategic tactic to change our mind about God. We must fix our thoughts today. Flush our mind. Clear our eyes. Open our ears to see life and everyone in it from God’s Point of View and through the Eyes of Jesus. I cannot do that standing in front of Him or even right beside Him. I must follow Jesus to see life the way that is most beneficial. I will see everyone through love. And so today this one final thing, fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable. This includes not just how we think about life and ourselves but every person who we come in contact whether we think them worthy or not.
Strive to think about things that are excellent and praiseworthy. Only one thing comes to mind – Jesus! Keep in practice all that you learned and received from the Lord – not religion or the school of hard knocks but from Jesus. His life was characterized by love, grace and mercy for all. I must live by everything He said and respond by doing everything He did. His Promise – the God of Peace will be with you and me. There is nothing like the Peace of God. If you allow it, Jesus will change your point of view.
Isaiah 26:3-8 (NLT)
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock. He humbles the proud and brings down the arrogant city. He brings it down to the dust. The poor and oppressed trample it underfoot, and the needy walk all over it. But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them. Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify your name.