As I was driving home from work today it occurred to me how our past experiences shape our perspective today. For instance, I was realizing how chilled I felt with the cool rainy day today. Reality would say that the temperature was about 18 C. Today, after recently experiencing hot 40 C days, today felt cool and damp. If, however, we were to experience an 18 C day in March, we would find it to be balmy and warm! While all of our experiences affect our responses to current and future events, it is often the most recent or the most significant which shape our perspective.
So often we (and I fully include myself in this) think that our perspective is reality. Many times, we think it is not only reality for us, but reality and truth for everyone. On the contrary. As in the practical example above, our perspective can change completely over something as trivial as the temperature in a matter of weeks or months.
Consider how this might be true in other areas of our life as well. I know for myself, that often my view of the sin in my life is coloured by the lens of what I see others doing around me. In a society of increasingly blatant disregard for morality and for God’s Word, I end up looking not really too bad. But when I compare myself (as God directs me to) to the perfect, sinless example of His son Jesus, suddenly my life is looking pretty wretched.
God requires us to look to the Truth of His Word to be the guide for our perspective. As Jeremiah states in chapter 17:
7 “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
8 He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
9 The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
10 “I the LORD search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward a man according to his conduct,
according to what his deeds deserve.”
Our hearts are ultimately deceitful, we are quick to compare ourselves and easy to try to absolve ourselves of our sinful nature. However, only Jesus can absolve us of our sin and it is only by looking to Him, by immersing ourselves in the Truth of God’s Word can we begin to get a right perspective on our life and our experiences.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight. [a]
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.