“So we continue to preach Christ to each person, using all wisdom to warn and to teach everyone, in order to bring each one into God's presence as a mature person in Christ.” (Colossians 1: 28 NCV)
The second measure of spiritual growth is perspective. Perspective is understanding something because you see things from a larger frame of reference. It is the ability to perceive how things are interrelated and then judge their comparative importance.
In a spiritual sense, it means seeing life from God’s point of view. In the Bible, the words "understanding,” "wisdom,” and "discernment” all have to do with perspective. The opposite of perspective is “hardness of heart,” “blinded,” and “dullness.”
Psalm 103:7 says, “He [God] made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel” (NIV).The people of Israel got to see what God did, but Moses got to understand why God did it. This is the difference between knowledge and perspective. Knowledge is learning what God has said and done. Perspective is understanding why God said it or did it.
Perspective answers the “why” questions of life.
The Bible says that unbelievers have no spiritual perspective (1 Corinthians 2:14). Likewise a lack of perspective is a mark of spiritual immaturity (1 Corinthians 3:1-2, 13:11, 14:20). In contrast, having perspective is evidence of spiritual maturity. Hebrews 5:14 (NASB) says, “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
There are many benefits of learning to see everything from God’s perspective:
Perspective causes us to love God more. The better we understand the nature and ways of God, the more we love him. Paul prayed "May you be able to feel and understand, as all God's children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is" (Ephesians 3:18 LB).
Perspective helps us resist temptation. When we look at a situation from God’s viewpoint, we realize the long-term consequences of sin are greater than any short-term pleasure sin might provide. Without perspective we follow our own natural inclinations. "There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death" (Proverbs 14:12 NIV).
Perspective helps us handle trials. When we have God’s perspective on life we realize that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28) and that “the testing of your faith develops perseverance" (James 1:3). Perspective was one of the reasons Jesus was able to endure the cross (Hebrews 12:2). He looked past the pain to the joy that was set before him.
Perspective protects us from error. If there was ever a time that Christians need to be grounded in the truth, it is today. Pluralism has created a very confused culture. The problem is not that our culture believes nothing but that it believes everything. Perspective is the antidote.
When believers, new and mature, are given both knowledge and perspective, the result is rock solid: "Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth" (Ephesians 4:14 LB).
Talk About It
In what recent situation have you applied your knowledge and not God's wisdom?
How does God's perspective help you accept James 1:3: “the testing of your faith develops perseverance"?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional ©2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.