I was recently reminded of how our perspective on life situations influences our responses. A recent conversation was on the difference between a seller’s perspective and the buyer’s. It is interesting that both desire the same thing but with different outcomes. Normally the seller desires to get the best price, that is, the highest price while the buyer desires the lowest. The Bible reminds us that our perspective on life also shapes our responses to life’s situations.
I was reminded that our perspective can draw us to trust Jesus while the opposite actually pulls us into conflict with Jesus. There are many Biblical passages and accounts that emphasize the importance of living with a Biblical perspective. Our Lord was a master at using questions to get His followers to think about the their perspective on life. An account in Matthew’s Gospel records Jesus asking His followers what others thought about him. This is also a great conversation starter for us in interfacing with others. It is not their response that I want to focus on. The disciples engage in the dialog sharing other’s perspectives on Jesus. The general population thought he was a great man of God. Jesus then asked them what they thought. He is interested in their perspective. Jesus does not stop here. Jesus the explains what the future holds for himself. He is shaping their perspective on God’s plan for Jesus, their Messiah. “From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” (Matthew 16:21)
It is Peter’s response to the revelation of God’s plan for the Messiah that reminds us of the way my perspective makes a difference. “And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” (Matthew 16:22) Peter’s perspective was shaped by a view of the Messiah (Jesus) that was not Biblically accurate. It was something that he would have learned as a child being raised in a Jewish home. It was a perspective that the coming Deliverer would throw off the bonds of secular government, in this case Roman oppression, and establish God’s Kingdom. The problem was Peter’s perspective was not complete. He only understood a portion of the Messiah’s role. His interpretation was not consistent with God’s plan. His perspective lead to actually opposing God’s working. It is worth noting that an unbiblical perspective, even an incomplete understanding of what God is doing, can lead us to an unbiblical response.
Now my conclusion may sound a little too harsh. But look at Jesus’ response to Peter, ”But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (Matthew 16:23) Jesus’ harsh sounding response frames the implications of an unbiblical response. Peter has fallen into the trap of doing the Devil’s bidding. He was interpreting God’s working in a way that produced the outcome that he wanted.
It is easy for you and me to also become a tool of the Devil’s hands. Peter’s correction of Jesus’ revelation of God’s will is the same as telling God that he has it all wrong. How often do we resist and react negatively to those difficult situations in our lives? How often are we bending Biblical truth to our will! Our perspective in every situation does make a huge difference. The challenge for you and me is to be regularly in God’s Word so that our perspectives are consistent with what the Lord is doing. We also need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s conviction as well. This is all developed by putting in the effort to integrate God’s truth into our lives.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson