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Jesus reveals the ultimate perspective on life with His statement “…seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 ESV). A perspective is one view from one particular person. No one (except Jesus) can see life with absolute clarity. Everyone lives with lies–distortions in the lens of perspective.
Perspective Determines Life Direction
The Christian life is a state of mind–a battle for what is real. People can’t control what happens to them, but they can exercise their perspective like they would a muscle. Then can train to identify and believe what is true over what is false.
You might be thinking ignorance is bliss or what I don’t know can’t hurt me. But those are deceptive statements. What we don’t know has hurt us, is hurting us, and will hurt us. A blind person will have trouble avoiding hazards. When people don’t know they have cancer and believe they are healthy, it is all the more devastating when they must come face to face with the truth.
Your perspective on what life is makes all the difference in how your life will turn out. How would you feel if, while running a race, you find out you’ve been running in the wrong direction for most of it? Make no mistake, life is like a race. There is a finish line and there is only one way to get there. You must run your own race on the path God has set before you. It’s different from anyone else’s path, but God chose your path when He created you as you are.
The battle for seeing reality (what is true from God’s perspective) will never be over in this life. But you can continue to shift the balance from more deceived to more enlightened. In fact, that should be everyone’s primary purpose. But choosing the enlightened path is much harder than it looks.
Perspective Determines Eternity’s Direction
Everyone wants to be enlightened, but the path of wisdom runs in a different direction than the path of comfort in this immediate, material life. I don’t think there is any scripture that can better make this point than the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man from Luke 16.
“But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’
“Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’ “But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’
“The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’ “But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”Luke 16:25-31 NLT
Are you able to see the differences in how Lazarus and the Rich Man perceive life both before and after death? If you can see it enough to choose God’s kingdom over your immediate comfort, then there is hope for you! If you can’t see it yet, consider reading Mark 10:17-27 for more inspiration.
The first, and perhaps most important, step is to be able to see clearly. Then we can work on taking the appropriate actions. If we try to act before we understand, we can end up a long way down a path that leads to nowhere.
A comfortable life today provides no clue as to what eternity will be like.
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.