Can we just be honest. Sometimes we sell Christianity like a Disney World commercial: come to Jesus and all your dreams will come true.
Nice tag-line, but this isn’t reality. Sometimes our deepest dreams never come true. In fact, quite often, hardships, suffering, and temptations press against us more now, than when we weren’t following Jesus. Sometimes, you and I put expectations on ourselves that are more like millstones. Truth be told, our expectations are not always God’s expectations; thus, we need to let go of our perspective and focus on His perspective of “this Christian life.”
Now, I’m not talking about doing more for God, rather I’m talking about being more with God. This is a huge difference, and one that we’ll talk about in-depth tomorrow (For vs From).
They say that perspective is everything. The above picture shows a great and refreshing view (who doesn’t want a huge pool in their backyard?). The house offers a lot, from the outside anyways. But, now look at the same setting from a different angle:
The same refreshing pool is there, just shown in a more realistic size.
When I look at these two pictures, I can’t help but think of our perspective vs God’s perspective about everything. This especially rings true for those of us who struggle with things in our life, things that are at times unrelenting. Like me, I’m sure you’ve thought, “If I can just get to this point, I’ll be OK,” “If I can just be like them, life would be better,” “If I just tried hard enough, what happened to this guy will happen to me,” etc.
We end up doing more damage to ourselves (and others) than we do help. Our battles seem steeper, our losses seem greater, while our faith and hope seem smaller. We need to stop doing this to ourselves.
Whether these wrong perspectives come from us, or others, we need to embrace a hard truth: God’s outlook is at times much different from ours, however, His outlook is always better than ours.
So the pool is smaller than you thought or hoped for. It’s still a place of refreshing water on a hot day. It still provides rest and fun times. The size of the pool doesn’t matter, what’s in the pool matters more. The same about the things we shoot for in life, like healing, sanctification, and fulfillment. Are we obsessed with just “getting fixed,” “being straight,” “getting married,” “not looking at porn,” etc, or are we obsessed with the One who brings such ability for freedom and life? Is our focus set on the destination only or on the Presence of our journey and destination?
I find comfort in Paul’s words in Philippians 3:7-14 …
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
When our perspective is God-based, our perspective is reality-based. I’m not saying that this way of thinking is easier, but it is healthier – for your soul, body, and faith. I’m convinced that God’s deepest desire for us is to be satisfied in Him (in His character, in His ways, in His blessings), even if He gives us a smaller pool than what we had hoped for. Jesus Christ is greater, every time.