Read James 1: 9-11
God asks us to have an "eternal" perspective! The premise is to move us to more maturity by moving our mindset away from the false beliefs and ideas we have built up. What we tend to pursue, in our desires in life, is meaningless against the backdrop of seeking faith and the call that Christ gives us. How do we keep on His track? Perspective!
· Perspective is the mental view or outlook of what we see in our world, our circumstances, our situation, and our Lord. The reality and outcome of our viewpoints influences our beliefs that in turn influence our attitude which affects our actions. This is also called "worldview." It is a position which will dramatically and dogmatically affects our outcome in trials and in life. How do you look at the world? Is it for what you can get out of it and what is in it for me, or is it for what you can learn and grow?
· Your perspective will answer and determine your character, maturity, spiritual growth, how you deal with problems, and how you can make your situation positive and meaningful! Without proper perspective in life, we will be torn apart by our desires, circumstances and the world's influence, while our faith and God's precepts are being ignored.
· Perspective is also the hope we are to have because of the reality of Christ's redemption. Our hope is anchored because He paid our debt. Because of this, we will realize that He is more than able to carry us through whatever happens to us. We will be able to see beyond the appearance of our circumstances and into the depths of our significance in Christ. Then, our thinking will cause us to see interrelations and outcomes that are pleasing to Him.
· Consider that money (greed and corruption), sex (unhealthy relationships), and power (pride and arrogance that oppresses others) are of no use in and of themselves unless they are tools for His glory-as in money (stewardship), sex (good marital relationships), and power (positive influence and encouragement).
· What are your pursuits in life? Pursuits, in our lives, will burn and be of no value some day; only what we learn, how we have grown, and the people we touch will be the real value that will echo throughout eternity! We have the determination and ability to make something better of ourselves by our spiritual, emotional, and social growth for our Lord's glory. We do this by seeing the situations we are in from a higher perspective. If we have the mindset of learning in this way, trials will work for us and not against us!
· When we focus on Christ, we have the proper perspective. This means a trial that we can endure! Both riches and poverty bring upsets and bad circumstances.
· Whether we are poor or rich, when we are in Christ we are indeed rich beyond measure. We can take pride (the good kind) in what we have-our position in Christ and not our possessions. The real treasure is who we are in Christ, not what we have (Psalm 103; Job. 14:2; Isaiah 40:6-7)! As a Christian we are made rich because of whom we are in Christ, not in our circumstances! Christ will take us beyond our circumstances. The world cannot give us true riches-only Christ can; He gives us our hope! Thus, we need to see beyond our pain and our broken world.
· When we are in Christ we can start to see the big picture, from God's perspective, as best as we can, so we can see what He has for us and what we can learn. This helps us see our self worth in Christ, and this produces godliness and deeper faith (James 3; Heb. 5:14). Human social structure is not God social structure! The key is asking Jesus for wisdom and be committed to the faith and to what He gives (Gal. 3:26-29; James 2:14-26).
· Where is your trust laid? People who have land and great possessions will rot and fade away (Psalm 102:4, 11, 16). Therefore it is important our focus on worth is at the right perspective, to where our trust and hope is to be placed. Is our security in wealth or in Christ? These people in James time historically and typically exploited the poor; thus, tensions existed between the poor and rich, which gave rise to insurrections and revolutions. If the Roman Empire did not exploit the poor, they would perhaps still be in power today! America is great because of the biblical precepts for all people to better themselves and the owning of property that the founding fathers gleaned from this passage (Federalist Papers)! Riches can also mean being self-focused. Being self-focused will never gain us a thing of real meaning.
As a Christian we can take comfort that God does not take us through trials to punish us, although He may at times (Rom. 1:24). Rather, He takes us through them because they are a part of life. They are a part of our sinful nature, the sins of others impacting and converging upon us, wrong choices, and our sin all congregating, building in synergy, and affecting all-us, others, and our environment. So, we will face suffering! The great news is we do not face it alone; Jesus is there! He will take us through it even if He does not take us out of it. He will even use us to help others around us. So, never consider trials and setbacks as a personal attack from God, but, rather, opportunities for you to learn and grow, and to be better, stronger, and more mature!
1.As you look back on your life, do you see good times or bad times as more prominent?
2.How would you describe your perspective on life; what is God doing in you and through you?
3.How important are your perspectives and viewpoints on life? Are you confident that you are right? How so? What would cause you to change your viewpoint on a particular subject?
4. How does your world-view influence your beliefs and actions? How does it affect your outcome in trials and in life?
5. Have you realized yet that how you deal with trials will determine your character, maturity, and spiritual growth?
6. Have you realized that how you deal with problems can make your situation positive and meaningful? How so? If not, what is in the way?
6. How do money, sex, and power have an influence on you? What about in your church?
7. How can you be sure that money (stewardship), sex (good marital relationships) and power (positive influence and encouragement) are tools for His glory?
8. What will be the real values in your life that will echo throughout eternity?