BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
The word perspective means viewpoint, point of view, outlook, perception, and standpoint. God’s perspective on life issues are not the same as the world’s perspective. Furthermore, God’s perspective is not always the same as the perspective of His children. Sometimes God’s children are ignorant of God’s perspective. Sometimes they embrace the world’s perspective, which is influenced by Satan. This should not be so.
God’s children should find out and have God’s perspective on life issues. They should not adopt or accept Satan’s perspective as Eve did in the Garden of Eden when the serpent deceived her to eat the forbidden fruit. God had told Adam not to eat of out of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, otherwise he would die. But the serpent told Eve they would not die. “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5 New King James Version). Unfortunately, Eve accepted Satan’s perspective, ate the fruit and gave her husband, Adam, to eat. They died spiritually and were evicted from the Garden. Always seek and accept God’s perspective. Don’t listen to Satan.
Let’s look at Matthew chapter 16. I want you to compare verse 23 with verse 17. Verse 23 says, “Jesus turned to Peter and said, ‘Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, and not from God’s’” (New Living Translation).
Verse 17 says, “Jesus replied, ‘You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being’” (New Living Translation).
Jesus’ reaction to Peter in the two scriptures was not the same. While one can describe verse 23 as a commendation, one can describe verse 17 as a condemnation.
When Peter answered Jesus in verse 16, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (New Living Translation), prompting a commendation in verse 17, God was the one speaking through him. But when Peter corrected or rebuked Jesus in verse 22, saying that what Jesus said would not happen. In other words, Jesus would not be killed and be raised on the third day. The devil was speaking through Peter.
In one breath, God used Peter; in another breath, the devil used him to speak a discouraging word that contradicted the purpose Jesus came to the earth to fulfill. Jesus knew it wasn’t Peter speaking but Satan, and that was why He said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, and not from God’s” (verse 23 New Living Translation).
In verse 16, Peter had God’s perspective but in verse 22, he had human point of view, which was actually Satan’s point of view. If Jesus hadn’t gone to the cross, there would be no salvation for mankind and that would have served the purpose of Satan.
The Bible says there is a way that seems right unto man but the end is destruction (Proverbs 16:25). That means human perspective may be wrong and incomplete, and it may lead to disaster. God’s perspective on the other hand is always right and complete and cannot be wrong. Human point of view may appear good and correct but it’s not always God’s way. God always leads by the right way. (Psalm 107:7).
When God led the children of Israel out of Egypt, there was a shorter route but God didn’t lead them through it. From human perspective, God was wrong. But God is always right. He knew why He led them through the longer route He chose.
Why? Exodus 13:17-18 tells us the reason: “Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, ‘Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.’ So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt” (New King James Version). God’s wisdom chose a longer route rather than a shorter route because that was right!
In Isaiah 55:8, God says His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. Jesus says in Luke 18:27, “What is impossible from a human perspective is possible with God” (New Living Translation). We must be careful not to live our lives based on human point of view or perspective but on God’s. We’re God’s children; we’re new creatures; old things have passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17). The new life requires that we live our lives based on God’s viewpoint.
Talking about Abraham, Romans 4:2 says, “Was it because of his good deeds that God accepted him? If so, he would have had something to boast about. But from God’s point of view Abraham had no basis at all for pride” (New Living Translation). From God’s perspective or God’s point of view, Abraham had no basis at all for pride for his acceptance or justification by God. That means from human point of view, there could be pride, and that would be wrong. That’s why it is good and important to always have God’s point of view on any issue and work with it because it’s always correct even if initially it doesn’t seem to be. Set your affection on things above and always seek Heaven’s perspectives (Colossians 3:1-2).
When Pharaoh pursued the children of Israel to the Red Sea, from human perspective, they had come to the end of the road. They had only two options – either to wait for Pharaoh’s army to catch up with them and kill them or to plunge into the Red Sea and perish there. The Israelites, in fact, voiced their fear from human perspective. “And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD. Then they said to Moses, because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness’’ (Exodus 14:10-12 New King James Version).
Moses didn’t share the same perspective with the people. He had God’s perspective. Therefore, he told the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” (verses 13-14 New King James Version).
Thereafter, God told Moses His game plan, which was in agreement with the perspective Moses had shared with the people regarding the dilemma they appeared to be facing. Here was God’s perspective on what they were going through? “And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen” (verses 15-18 New King James Version).
If you have God’s perspective of your current challenges, you’ll be able to navigate through them successfully. God’s perspective must become your perspective. When God is calling you a mighty man of valour, don’t call yourself a failure because of what you’re going through. If you call yourself a failure contrary to what God is saying, it means you don’t have God’s perspective of your situation. Whatever you’re facing, don’t let the devil preach to you and give you his perspective. Get God’s perspective, walk in it and work with it.
Look at Jesus’ perspective of His suffering, as recorded by the writer of the book of Hebrews: “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2 New King James Version). Jesus wasn’t lamenting or appealing to people for sympathy.
In 2 Corinthians 4:18 and Romans 8:18, 37, Paul shared with us his perspective of the suffering of the saints. From these scriptures, it is clear that Paul didn’t see the saints as people defeated or overpowered by the devil. No. Rather, he saw them as victorious people because he had God’s perspective. You could feel the joy, the enthusiasm in him.
Also, see Peter’s perspective of the saints’ sufferings in 1Peter 5:10: ‘‘But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you’’ (New King James Version). The perspectives of Paul and Peter were not different. Their perspectives were positive. Similarly, James said, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials’’ (James 1:2 New King James Version).
All the apostles had God’s perspective. They were mindful of the things of God; they had God’s point of view concerning the believers and what they were going through. Do you have God’s perspective on your life, your trials, travails, and so on? It will determine whether you’ll come out victorious or not; it will determine whether it will make you better or better.
This was Joseph’s perspective, and indeed God’s perspective, about his travail. “Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive’” (Genesis 50:19-20 New King James Version).
Look at Elijah. He didn’t have God’s perspective when he sought to die because of Jezebel’s threat to kill him. He wanted to die and abandon his ministry. But that was exactly what Jezebel wanted to do. He wanted God to kill him rather than Jezebel. However, he said that because his perspective was distorted. He thought the Israelites, who had forsaken God’s covenant and torn down His altar, had killed all the prophets of God with the sword. He felt he was the only one remaining; yet, they wanted to kill him, too.
God gave him His perspective – the correct perspective. He told him he wasn’t the only righteous person remaining. There were still 7,000 people who had not bowed down before Baal and whose mouth had not kissed him. Elijah’s perspective was wrong (1 Kings 19:1-18). God sent him back to his ministry after giving him His perspective. There was no way Jezebel would be able to kill him. God’s perspective would sustain him.
How to Develop God’s Perspective
1.Study your Bible to know and understand God’s instructions and principles and apply them to deal with life issues. This is what is called wisdom. Ecclesiastes 10:10 says wisdom is profitable to direct; wisdom brings success.
2.Don’t copy the behavior of the world. Romans 12:2 says “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is”(New Living Translation). You must be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new man which was created according to God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:23-24).
Colossians 3:9-10 underscores the need for you to put off the old man with his deeds and put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.
Make the Word of God your meditation (Psalm 119:97). Transformation takes place as you expose yourself to and meditate on the Word of God daily. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8 New King James Version).
3. Seek God’s perspective in prayer. Enquire from God. Ask Him in prayer for His viewpoint if you’re not sure even after studying and meditating on the Word of God. James 1:5 says if anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask from God who will gladly give him and not resent his asking.
4. Ask the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:10-11 says, “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God” (New King James Version). If you ask Him, He‘ll communicate it to you; He is the revealer.
Jesus said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not be presenting his own ideas; he will be telling you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future” (John 16:13 New Living Translation). Thank God the Holy Spirit has since come, and is here. He will never lead you to do anything that is contrary to the Bible. The perspective He brings always agree with the Word of God.
5. Seek Godly counsel from spirit-filled believers. You should seek Godly counsel from spirit-filled believers. It is not every believer that can give Godly and right counsel, and not every counselor that can reveal God’s perceptive. It’s not all of them who know and speak the mind of God.
Proverbs 11:14 and Proverbs 24:6 say in the multitude of counselors there is safety. However, you must be sure they’re hearing from God so that they don’t send you into multitude of confusion! Be sure they’re not like the prophets of Ahab who were taken over by a lying spirit (1 Kings 22) and wrongly counseled him to go to war, contrary to the counsel of a genuine prophet of God. Ahab died in that battle.
Isaiah 19:11 says, “Pharaoh’s wise counselors give foolish counsel’’ yet they are called counselors. “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days’’ (Proverbs 19:20 New King James Version). This is a good piece of advice. However, the rider is that you should be sure the counsel and instruction are from God. “Plans are established by counsel; by wise counsel wage war’’ (Proverbs 20:18 New King James Version). Did you see that?
It is not just any counsel that delivers victory in war but wise counsel. “Plans fail without good advice, but they succeed with the advice of many others’’ (Proverbs 15:22 New Century Version). From that context, we understand that the emphasis is not on the number of advisers but the quality of advice these advisers are giving. What you need to gain God’s perspective on life’s issue is not just good advice but God’s mind.
Conclusion: As children of God, we must seek to ensure that our thoughts agree with the thoughts of God on life issues. He does not see as man sees (1 Samuel 16:7). We must admit our limitation and ask the All-knowing God to help us understand the life issues we are dealing with, show us what He desires for us and what decisions He wants us to take. Things are not always what they appear to be. We must gain God’s perspective so that we can prosper in all we do.
I pray for you that “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:18-21 New King James Version).
If you’re not born again, I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent and confess my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you’ve said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing and Bible teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. You shall grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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