Note: Through the lens…I have been thinking more about how we see things, and how that effects our walk. This weekend, pastor Steele Croswhite mentioned the concept of through the lens. I’ve posted about this before…choosing the lens through which we see the world, and how the way we look at things changes the way we live our lives. Steele takes this one step further, and points out that when we see the world through the lens of Biblical Truth, it looks entirely different than it does through the lens of the world. If you like, you can listen to his sermon here (and if you do, you’ll know that Steel embodies Romans 12:11….“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” NIV).
As in a Mirror, Dimly
Did you ever feel like you were upside-down in a right-side up world? I feel like that frequently. The world is constantly bombarding me with things that I know are contrary to truth! All around, the constant static and noise, the hype, the urgency of the now seems to be pressing in on all sides. It is a constant battle to keep yourself oriented, to keep in line with Truth.
1 Corinthians 13, the verse about Love, ends in a beautiful line that really resonates with me… 1 Corinthians 13:12…Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Could it be that the world is asking us to view our lives through a mirror-lens, which reflects everything backwards? If we turn away from the mirror, might we be looking at the face of Truth?
What seems certain to me is that the world asks us to look at things in a distorted way. The world asks us to put Self first, to seek comfort in possessions, to stockpile treasures for the now, to ignore the needs of those less fortunate. We are told constantly that to be happy we must be the first, have the most, be right all the time. We are told to judge our worth by standards nobody can attain…that in order to be accepted we must be perfect, that we when we fail to be “good enough” (or rich enough, or successful enough, or beautiful enough…) we are thoroughly unlovable, that when we fail to reach the worldly standards set for us we become failures.
It’s hard to keep your head above the water in this sea of constant distraction. Hard to catch a breath of clean, fresh air, hard to make things out in the dim haze of a backward reflection. If I allow myself to get distracted, if I let myself drift….I find myself fighting hard to regain perspective, swerving left when I should go right, confusing up with down. It takes constant reminders to keep me from believing the mirror image…to keep me from believing the lies that that mirror-lens holds.
If you turn around, away from the poor reflection, if you look through the lens of Truth, your whole perspective changes. The world tells you that to increase your happiness you need to increase your possessions, the Truth tells us that to increase your happiness you need to increase your gratitude. The world tells us to look out for “number one”, the Truth tells us to look after those who can’t take care of themselves. The world tells us to live for the moment, the Truth tells us to live for eternity. The world tells us that we must seek our own selfish satisfaction no matter what the cost, the Truth tells us that we gain infinitely more by denying ourselves that which cannot fill the void anyway, and seeking That which can. The world tells us we are insignificant and worthless, the Truth tells us we are loved as sons and daughters of God himself, worth the ultimate sacrifice. Worthy of grace.
In this upside-down world, it’s a constant struggle to keep perspective. This is what Paul was talking about in 1 Timothy 6:12 when he reminds us to “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” NIV It isn’t supposed to be easy, this struggle to hold up the lens of Truth when the world offers us the easier view of a mirror-lens. There is rest in the Truth, there is hope, there is peace. But we have to seek it, to keep it first, to put it before everything else even when the mirror shines its brightest, when it seduces us with its backward reflection of what God intends. It means, sometimes, looking upside-down in a right-side up world.
How can we keep our perspective? Stay in the Word, the ultimate lens of Truth. Walk in the light of Jesus, who is the word and the truth. Check yourself daily for where your perspective is, and pray continually. I’m not saying this from the point of view of someone what has that concept down and is skipping along and easily ignoring the mirror-image lure of the lens of this world…I’m tripping and stumbling and losing my perspective continually, fighting hard to keep myself oriented in a confusing and backward illusion. But by grace it gets easier, it’s all possible with Him through whom all things are possible.
Lord, help me remember that we view this world as in a mirror, a poor reflection of what You made it. Help me remember that your Truth is more beautiful, more complete, and more comprehensible than anything the world can offer, that I can choose to see it through Your lens if I turn away from the mirror and let go of what I think I see. Amen!