In my prayerful reflection this morning, I found myself so very sad. The infighting that is America these days weighs on me. Americans cannot find common agreement about anything – race, economics, politics, the pandemic, faith. The civil society that makes life possible is disintegrating before our eyes. Perhaps you do not agree with that assessment. Information, which is so important to critical thinking, is hard to come by. There are OPINIONS by the million, people EMOTING even in our news media by the thousand, but truth is scarce. If a ‘fact’ does not align with a political position, it is censored, never reported, or discredited by other ‘experts.’ This leaves people like us feeling the stress of uncertainty.
Yesterday I talked about the importance of who you know in managing the stresses of life. Our relationships, with God, with others, are deep wells of renewal in times like these. There is another factor in dealing with stress that is critically important: gaining the right perspective. Perspective, once exclusively used of art, means to ‘look through.’ It came to refer to our attitudes, the way we think about life, our point of view. IF our perspective is flawed our grasp of reality will be skewed and therefore our response will be faulty.
What can be done to gain and keep a right perspective?
First, we believe that God is the Creator and Source of Life!
Nothing can replace that basic fact of human existence. When we discard God in formation of our understanding of the world chaos will follow. The Scripture makes this statement. “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:20-22, NIV) An arrogance has gripped humanity that has ripped God from His rightful place. Humble acknowledgement of this fact – there is a God and I am not Him – is the cornerstone of wisdom.
Second, we believe that God can be KNOWN, that He wills a purpose for us!
The Word starkly reveals what happens if a person believes in God but refuses to know Him. “For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord. They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. That is why they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way. They must experience the full terror of the path they have chosen.” (Proverbs 1:29-31, NLT) The best life is found in the pursuit of the Holy One, in a life-long commitment to discovering His plans for us.
Third, we believe that God has COME TO US, in the Person of Jesus!
The incarnation (literally – God in flesh) is a beautiful mystery of our faith. How could our God Who is eternal, majestic, all powerful, and all knowing become a Man? This we believe – that Jesus, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:6-11, NIV) He become a part of His Creation so that we could know Him, love Him, and find ourselves at peace with Him. This statement of faith has real consequence for how we live here and now.
Fourth, we believe that Jesus INVITES US TO LIFE ETERNAL, through FAITH IN HIM!
Naturally we live alienated from God, not just unwilling, but incapable of doing His will. The Scripture’s description of the plight of humanity is stark – Dead in your sins. Oh how those who insist on human potential, who love their own wisdom, hate that statement. But I read it and look upward in faith to know that “to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn! This is not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan—this rebirth comes from God.” (John 1:12-13, NLT) In that rebirth of the spirit, when I am made alive to God, a whole new reality emerges, changing my perspective on life.
Lastly, we believe that because Jesus was RAISED FROM THE DEAD we too WILL LIVE IN GOD’S HOME FOREVER!
With that hope what in all this world can rob us of peace? Death itself, the last enemy, is ultimately defeated. When that is part of my perspective, I become immoveable, unshakeable, anchored on the Rock. Of this Scripture says, “I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me—that Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, as the Scriptures said.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, NLT)
“When this happens—when our perishable earthly bodies have been transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die—then at last the Scriptures will come true: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. How we thank God, who gives us victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ our Lord! So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” (1 Corinthians 15:54-58, NLT)
This is the Gospel – the Good News. Want to know peace in the uncertainties of life? Want to find meaning for your existence beyond the food you eat, the clothing you wear, the sensual pleasures you experience?
God exists. He can be known. Jesus shows us the Way to life. That life extends beyond the grave. That makes life worth living.
(Celtic worship does this song beautifully!)
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light my strength my song
This Cornerstone this solid Ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love what depths of peace
When fears are stilled when strivings cease
My Comforter my All in All
Here in the power of Christ I stand
No guilt in life no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand
Keith Getty | Stuart Townend © 2001 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
CCLI License # 810055