And in the end, what we dwell on is what we become. Where we camp, is where we live and die. Louie Giglio

Our perspective — the way we interpret what’s happening around us — can make or break us in any given situation. Our perspectives shape us, how we think, how we engage with people, how we action in our every day.   Perspective creates opportunity to grow and opportunity to step out, or how it can hinder our progress and restrict us.

Clues to what type of perspective we have is in some of the phrases we regularly say or think.  If your perspective leans to the negative you may not even be aware of it. Thinking the worst can be second nature after years of doing it. But it can be influencing how you live life and keeping you from getting the best out of it.

A negative perspective says:

I can’t

I will never

I could never

That always happens to me

That never happens for me

That’s not possible

It’s language is negative and limiting.

It’s reactive vs proactive,  seeing the bad in people and in situations.

 

A optimistic perspective says:

I can

I will

I will try

It’s going to be okay

Let’s keep going

It’s language is positive and overcoming.  It is responsive and proactive, choosing to see the good in people and situations.

 

A faith filled perspective says:

I can do all things through Christ

I am more than a conqueror

With God nothing is impossible

 

Positive perception says that failure is part of learning, that we can do hard stuff,

We need to turn down our negative self talk and make intentional decisions to transform our perspective, from the inside out.

 

God is calling us to have an enlarged perspective of His faithfulness and power as we step into a new year, to be aware of His ableness vs our own limitations and vs what the world may say.

God sometimes has a totally different perspective than us.

His challenge for us is for us to align our perspective with His, to see things from His vantage point.

We can begin again and change the way we think.  Changing the way we think sets us on a new road that trusts more, dares more, loves more and lives more.

Gideon was a man that was challenged several times to have an enlarged perspective, to have faith in God and to say yes to all that God wanted to do through his life.

Let’s begin in Judges 6 where we meet Gideon and he has his first perception challenge.

 

Judges 6:11-16

The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

 

Negative perception.  Tick.

I cant.

Its impossible.

Who am I?

Self doubt.   Self limiting.  Tick.

 

 

The first step in beginning again and to changing our perception is to begin with ourselves, to begin with how we see ourselves.

We need to change our perspective on who we are.   So often we can get caught in the comparison trap and compare our day to day to some else’s curated Instagram feed and highlight reel.  We can devalue the gift of God through our life and push pause on the awesome work God has prepared for us, Ephesians 2:10 says before the world was even created.

Gideon needed to accept and receive the truth about what God said about him otherwise he would have stayed threshing wheat in the winepress and who can speculate the fate of the Israelites if that had happened.

You see, knowing the truth of what God says about us isn’t a pat on the back for us.  It’s not about our own self esteem and happiness.  It’s about those we are called to reach and set free.  It’s about stepping out in the purposes of God and seeing His power through us, changing the world, one life at a time.

Your identity changes when you believe that God actually wants to use you to do the impossible – bill johnson

When we live with our own narrow negative perception we restrict how God can flow through us.  We are the river and we want no obstacles and no boundaries to what God can do!

 “God’s perspective on us is remarkable, almost unbelievable. He delights in us and loves us as a caring Father. He’s running toward us, ready to embrace and forgive us. He’s for us in all the pain of life and can sustain us in every challenge. As I learn to see from God’s perspective, my perspective on everything else shifts. I realize that my failures don’t disqualify me. I’m aware of the security I already have in God’s grace. I trust that nothing will separate me from the love of God in Christ.”  ~ Jud Wilhite

 

So how do we do that in real life?  How do we change our perception?

  1. Choose

We can choose to believe the fears that come up, the lies that the enemy throws us, the feelings inside of us that are screaming at the unknown, or we can choose to believe that God was actually telling us the truth when He said that He is able to do exceedingly above all we can ask or think.

Today you have a choice.

Will you choose to believe that you are loved by God.

Will you choose to believe that you are liked by God.

Will you choose to believe you are called by God.

Will you choose to believe that God has prepared you to do amazing things and that the world needs who you are.

Will you choose to believe that you are created on purpose, with purpose.

That you are an overcomer, that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength, that nothing is impossible for those who believe.

We begin again when we align what we think with the truth and reality of what God says.

Choosing means we have accept that we have some control over what we think.  We are not victims of our thoughts, powerless to our mindsets and perceptions.

It often starts with small thoughts, that then spiral out of control if we entertain them, if we link it to another thought.

The small thought of I cant can link to a long list of “evidence” why you cant and before you know it you will never….  And sometimes that evidence is not real, it is lies from the enemy who seeks to kill, steal, destroy and shut you down!

 

The bible says that The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.   2 Corinthians 4:10 NIV

We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. 2 Corinthians 4:10 MSG

We have the power to choose how we think.  When those loose thoughts and impulses pop into our mind we have the ability to accept them or discount them.  We are the quality control survayer of our thoughts.  Our thoughts come along the conveyer belt of our thought factory and we can exaimine them – are they good, are they positive, are they faithfilled… yes, then they can continue along the conveyer belt of our thinking, or are they negative, limiting and restrictive – then they don’t meet the standards and we can choose to remove them from our thinking.

We trace, face and replace the negative thoughts with God’s truth.  We choose.

 

 

  1. Correct Content

In order to choose well we need to know what we should and could be choosing.   We need to choose good content!

We find the map to right thinking, the good content, in the word of God.

Hebrews 4:12 says For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

There are times when our way of thinking can butt up against the word of God – when that happens, who is in the right?

We say, we cant.  The Bible says through Christ we can.

We say there is no hope, the Bible says that the Holy Spirit can fill us with hope.

We say its impossible and the Bible says with God all things are possible.

 

Philippians 4:6-8  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

 

To know what is lovely, what is good, true and right we need to fill our minds with the words of God so that they reboot us into right thinking.   The Word of God is going to offend you and challenge you and bump up against the rough places of our hearts.  It’s going to give you strength and grace and real answers.  It’s going to shift stubborn misconceptions and replace them with faith.  It’s going to heal the brokenheart, soothe the anxiousness and comfort you in the darkest spaces of your life.

It does not offer empty promises but real hope.

Louie Giglio  says “in the end, what we dwell on is what we become. Where we camp, is where we live and die.”

Perhaps this year you need to begin again with the Bible, and read it with a heart open to truth and open to God’s gracious transformation.   Perhaps this year we need to read it and believe it and do it.

To dwell on it and camp there in the truth of what God says.

 

3. Compare Not

In 2 Corinthians 10:12 Paul says, “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”

Just like Paul, we need to make the decision to embrace our unique grace and shake off the limitations of living up to other’s expectations.  We need to accept and receive the truth about what God says about us.

Let me read the Jud Wilhite quote that I said earlier again:

“God’s perspective on us is remarkable, almost unbelievable. He delights in us and loves us as a caring Father. He’s running toward us, ready to embrace and forgive us. He’s for us in all the pain of life and can sustain us in every challenge. As I learn to see from God’s perspective, my perspective on everything else shifts. I realize that my failures don’t disqualify me. I’m aware of the security I already have in God’s grace. I trust that nothing will separate me from the love of God in Christ.”  ~ Jud Wilhite

This is God’s truth for you.

“God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’” Job 37:5-6 (NIV) –

He doesn’t tell the snow to thaw and become rain, or the rain to freeze itself into snow. He says, essentially: Do your thing. Do the thing you love to do, what you’ve been created to do. God is asking you to be the thing He’s already created you to be.

So many of us twist ourselves up in knots trying desperately to be something or someone else.  Trying to fulfill some endless list of qualities and capabilities that we think will make us feel loved or safe or happy.

I know I’ve done it.  If I could sound more spiritual.  If I could be deeper, wiser sounding.  If I could mash the wisdom of Tim Keller and the dynamite of Christine Caine….

We compare the way we work, the way we serve, the way we parent, the way we do relationships…

God doesn’t need another brian Houston, he needs you.  He doesn’t need another kim walker smith, He needs you.  That is why He made you, on purpose, with purpose. Comparison is such a trap.  We’ve said it a million times.  It’s on facebook every 4 seconds.

What is God asking you do to? What is the thing God created you to be?

The first book I read this year was Scary Close by Donald Miller.  It’s tagline is “Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy.”  It is a book about the risk involved in choosing to impress fewer people and connect with more, about the freedom that comes when we stop acting and start loving. It is a story about knocking down old walls to create a healthy mind, a strong family, and a satisfying career.

It is a scary read.  At the end of it I felt a bit naked and exposed.  I felt a stronger call to be more authentic and to rediscover who I really am and to be that.  Not that I’ve been hiding, but that there was more to be and that I am a work in progress.  God is at work in each one of us, we are His masterpiece, created on purpose with a purpose.

Donald Miller , author of Scary Close says “It’s a beautiful moment when somebody wakes up to this reality, when they realize God created them so other people could enjoy them, not just endure them.” 

 

  1. Circumstance

Instead of just asking God to change your situation this week, ask Him to change the way you view your situation. You don’t always control your situation, but you do control your point of view.

God’s way is often through the sea.  In the prison.  In the firey furnace.  A lions den.  A cross.

In judges 7 we read how Gideon faced a challenge in perception.  He was facing hoards of armies and God told him he had too many troops.   First those who were afraid of the battle we released to go home.  So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.  But again that was too many from God’s vantage point.  In the end Gideon was left with an army of 300.

Gideon had to align his perspective with God who said the victory is yours with 300!

Because Gideon surrendered to God and allowed God to renew his mind, to transform his point of view, he was able to trust God even in this.  He could have courage and lead his men into victory.

What is God saying about your circumstance?  You might feel outnumbered and illequipped for whatever battle you face.  You may feel stretched beyond capacity and out of your depth.  But God may be looking at your life and your circumstance and setting you up for a testimony!  God turns every mess into a message and every test into a testimony.

 

Isaiah 43;2 says When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.

When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,

Nor will the flame burn you.

 

 5. Cleansed

 

Our perception changes when we look at Him and go wow with worship.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

We can walk through anything knowing He is with us.  We can face any challenge with Him with us.

We can step out into the adventure of life, no limitations, when we fix our eyes on Jesus.

We can transform our thinking and perception when we become captivated by Christ.

God is better.  He is better than any temptation that distracts us.  He is better than any empty promise.  He is better than settling.

Sometimes in a message like this we can think change all comes by grit.  In the new year we make new years resolutions to give up sugar, to work out, to do xyz and we hustle and grit our teeth and make it happen.

But a change in perspective – while yes, it takes our intentionality – it also happens through a process of grace and the power of God.

Jesus transforms us as we surrender and say yes, God, here am I.

In Matthew 8:2-4 we read about a man who needed to begin again.

A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.

Jesus was willing to touch him and give him the fresh start.  He is willing to touch your life so you can begin again.

Perhaps you’ve been listening this morning, and you realize that you need a brand new start with God.

Right now if God is drawing you to Himself, and you feel that this moment is meant to be the beginning of a new start, a new life – 2 Cor 5:7 says that God can make you a new creation, the old is gone, the new has come.  You can this moment say that Jesus can make all things new in your life.  You can begin again.

If you’re tired of the same old attempts to clean up your life, the same old dead paths to find joy.  Your past has haunted you and your future seems paralysed, no matter how you try you can’t get it together.

The beauty of the gospel is that Jesus came so YOU didn’t have to get it all together, but so that you could offer Him the broken pieces of your life, your uncertain future, so that all things can be made new.  “The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”

For all of you that want to receive Jesus Christ into your life, pray this with me…. This will be the beginning of a new chapter of your life and the beginning of an eternal relationship with a God who loves you and made a way for you to come to Him.

Heavenly Father, I need a new start.  I need your grace, I need your mercy.  I give my life, all of my sins, I turn from my own ways to trust in You.  Thank you Jesus for dying for me, I believe you rose again to give me new life, I place my hope in you, make me a brand new person.  Give me a brand new start, and I will live for you all the days of my life.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

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