See Clearly — A Shadow or the Real Thing

See Clearly — A Shadow or the Real Thing

I see clearly from my upper-story window both shadows and the objects projecting the shadows. Both their dimensions and shapes differ. The shadow often stands out sharper and more distinctly that the real thing. With the changing angle of the sun, the shadows gradually reshape into forms much different from the original appearance.

God reminds us,

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
1 Corinthians 13:12

He alerts us of our limited viewpoints. We look at people and the shadows of their lives from a single angle, but there are multiple points of view hidden from us.

Optometrists prescribe prescription lens to correct physical vision. But how do we secure a prescription for our hearts, to enlighten us to look deeper and wider?

God’s View

We need — desperately need — to see things from God’s perspective. As the Light, He illuminates everything inside and out.

He also reveals Himself in multiple ways. Hebrews 4:13 says,

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

This thought becomes both frightening and comforting to those who experience His love and grace. We most accurately gain God’s view by knowing Him. We know Him most accurately through His Word. The Bible gives us the clearest image of God’s perspective regarding all things. The more we read and understand His Word, the more we will see clearly and understand His thoughts and ways.

God’s Heart

No one fully knows their own heart or motivation, let alone the heart and motives of others. Yet, how quickly we judge each other from limited viewpoints.

Even when we think we operate with pure motives, the curse of sin taints our words and actions. Just as often, the reverse holds true. We may say or do something with obviously impure motives, yet along the way God shifts our hearts to align with His.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9

Only when our hearts become transformed more like His heart will be see clearly both ourselves and others. The Holy Spirit, our Comforter, comes gently and firmly nudging us closer and closer to the heart of Father God.

See Clearly

We so easily become deceived while living in the shadow lands of earth. Through consistent prayer asking God to help us see clearly, God opens the path of improved perspective.

As children, we may have enjoyed playing shadow creatures with flashlights beaming against dark walls. But as adults mature in the Lord, we desire more and more to see clearly — first ourselves and then others.

“For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God].”
1 Corinthians 13:12 AMP

As we realize our limited view, we more quickly restrain critical judgments and offensive rhetoric. Like the disciples of old, we, too, possess warped perspectives, blurred vision, and dimmed hearts.

Let Us Pray

The greatest shifts occur as we acknowledge our shortcomings and pray. Let us earnestly and consistently ask God to remove the enigmas of our flesh and the many fragmented perceptions we hold. May we see beyond the shadows people cast to God’s perspective.

Oh Father, we groan under the weight of our insufficiency. The things we think we see and know clearly, we neither know nor see. In one sense, we accept our limitations. While in another, we earnestly seek You to change us and grant us clearer vision. If ever there was a time or season when clarity of thought and motive is necessary, now is that time! May we not be like blind beggars groping in the darkness of deception. Lord Jesus, open our eyes to see as You see. Open our ears to hear Your voice. Open our hearts to respond with full obedience and alignment to Your ways. Draw us near to Your heart, that we might reflect You more and more. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for Your conviction and comfort. We are grateful, Lord Jesus, for Your incredible grace and truth that helps us to see clearly.

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Perspective and Choice – From the Bridge of the Cross

Perspective and Choice – From the Bridge of the Cross

Since I’m nearsighted, I’ve worn corrective glasses since grade school. Being nearsighted may present problems, but having clear vision gives new perspective.

Failure to see clearly from an eternal viewpoint creates even more of a dilemma. Will I have a nearsighted perspective or choose a panoramic view? The cross of Christ is the bridge between two significant perspectives.

Paul put it this way:

“For now we see through a glass, darkly;
but then face to face: now I know in part;
but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
1 Corinthians 13:12

Now we see dimly!

Stick with me as I illustrate!

Boxes

In my office with laptop before me, dozens of national flags dot the wall beyond my desk. The telephone and my bible are tucked close. A travel mug of icy water completes the items within my limited view.

To my right, a picture of my husband, a thank you note, and a certificate clutter my desk.  A reed basket of discipleship material sits atop a tote of children’s journals. Three prints of personal paintings fill the remaining desktop. They represent an invitation to worship, to intercession and to fullness of relationship with Christ. Above the desk, a hand painted banner from a young worship dancer declares “Church rules! God rules!

When I adjust my position a quarter turn, I view my office mate steadily working at her computer. A song of praise continuously flows both from her heart and the speaker beside her. Her backpack slumps lazily from a comfy corner chair.

From the final perspective, I view through a large window into a hallway. The windowpane originated from the “mother” church planted within our city decades ago. Imprinted in the glass are images of the vibrancy of that little mission church with a sign announcing, “Jesus Saves”.

Since I spend so much time here, I might be deceived into thinking this “box” I call my office is “my world.” Here the ceiling hangs low, the lighting artificial.

Boxes of familiarity will foster either love or hate!

We grow to love or hate our familiar boxes!

The Bridge

As I exit the church, the air is crisp as the wind wisps my hair in uncontrolled fashion. The noise of the street rises as I make my way unto the bridge spanning a busy bypass beneath. From the bridge, the view is drastically different from my office.

As I look back, my office is hidden within the larger church structure that dominates my view. A senior’s complex snuggles in the church’s shadow. On the opposite side of the roadway rests a cemetery sheltered by mature elm, maple, and spruce. A condominium unit fills the remaining gap within focus.

Turning southward, I notice the university, nestled by Wascana Creek. A teepee village circles the front lawn of one of the nearest buildings. The rush of traffic comes and goes from beneath my bridge.

To my right the view changes completely, as I look toward parks and walkways. Trees, wildflowers, and chirping birds invite me further.

Another quarter turn and I face the traffic full on coming and going, crossing and merging, entering and exiting. The constant din of motors and wheels, exhaust fumes rising from hot pavement and rapid movement of vehicles bombards my senses.

Then I look up! Wisps of white swirl upon a otherwise barren canvas of cerulean blue. The sun’s warmth intensifying even at this early morning hour.

Spaces

I don’t stop here making my way to the other side. Though I am very close to the bridge the sounds and busyness are immediately hushed as I venture along this “natural” walkway. Trees gently bend their boughs in open arm movement overhead. Children laugh and play undisturbed in a nearby park. Birds swoop and twirl in the gentle breeze.

A space to breathe and then breathe again!

I look back wondering how I can still be so close to the bridge but so far removed from what was just steps away. My soul breathes, then breathes again.

I want to stay, to linger, to rest! Responsibility calls me back over the bridge to my office.

Perspective

My shared office is small with both limitations and opportunities. In this little “box” struggles, trials, and hurdles are overcome daily. I am thankful for the privileges and blessings here as well. “Boxes” bear many labels: marriage, life situation, illness, financial restraint…

My perspective of life can be viewed only from a “box” of duty or commitment. I can jealously look at other boxes and wonder why some are larger, more elaborate, with more benefits than mine! I can even begin to resent my box and its limitations.

Blessings are equally distracting! Opportunities or comfort obscure by vision, causing me to forget it is only a “box” — a part of the something much bigger.

Bridges span two realities. There is before me a solid bridge — the cross of Jesus Christ, connecting present reality to the truth of heaven’s eternal promise. From this bridge, perspective changes. Without ceiling, The Light is pure. It is the transition point between the world in which I walk and the eternal realm in which I truly live.

Under the cross all life flows! I am exposed to cultures beyond my own. It is fast paced, at times draining, but always satisfying. There is nothing boring about living the way of the cross!

From the cross I catch the breath-taking view of heaven’s domain. I touch a different reality, feeling the freedom of life fully lived. There are “cross-over” moments of resting in the Presence of the Almighty. Eternity welcomes me further!

Questions and Answers

The questions we have and the answers we seek will be determined by perspective. Sitting in nearsighted little boxes, questions of God may be self-seeking and self-motivated.

Questions and answers from the position of the cross usually focus outwardly toward others. Here a world view forms in line with scripture and the finished work of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.

As we taste and see the goodness of God in brief glimpses of what is to come, questions lose their urgency, answers become unnecessary in the Presence of the One who is The Answer!

We often fail to ask the right questions! Jesus, however, presented a question we all must ask. The answer will be a reflection of perspective.

“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples,
Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist;
others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah,
for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood,
but by my Father in heaven…”
Matthew 16:13-17

The ultimate question is, “Who is Jesus?”

While most people viewed Jesus from the lens of nearsighted religious perspective, Peter saw more. Jesus, the Messiah, Saviour, God with man, stood among them.

“Who do you say I am?”

The Answer

The answer to that question will determine how we face every other answer-less question. Is God who He said He is? Is He incomparably loving, immeasurably compassionate, completely just, righteous, gracious, and kind. Do I know Him as all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present? Can I trust Him?

Though the fig tree does not blossom
And there is no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive fails
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock is cut off from the fold
And there are no cattle in the
stalls,
Yet I will [choose to] rejoice in the Lord;
I will [choose to] shout in exultation
in the [victorious] God of my salvation!

The Lord God is my strength
[my source of courage, my invincible army];

He has made my feet [steady and sure] like hinds’ feet
And makes me walk [forward with spiritual confidence]
on my high places [of challenge and responsibility].”
Habakkuk 3:17-19

In Him is courage and strength. Though weak in body, I consistently move forward in spite of challenges. Because of Jesus, I am free to enjoy the safety of my “box”, the connection of the bridge to God and others through the cross, as well as the wonder and abundance of heaven.

We shall be known, face to face!

With new perspective we can all “rejoice in the Lord” and “shout in exultation in the victorious God of (our) salvation.”

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Further Reading:

Something Better! God is Faithful to All He has Promised!

Hebrews 12 Throw Aside Every Weight and Sin