How You See God – The Key To Life
by Lyn Packer
As I prayed for some prophetic insight into this year I felt the Lord say "Tell them I've got a good year planned ahead for them, but in many ways it won't be their circumstances that determine whether it's good or bad - they will. They will determine that by what they see and the perspective they see from."
In Eph 1:17-19 it says that God wants to give us a spirit of revelation and wisdom in the knowledge of Him – to know what is the hope of our calling, the richness of His inheritance in the saints, the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us, the working of His great might…
In other words, God wants us to see Him as He really is - because how we see Him determines how we will live our lives.
We are in the midst of a reformation in the Church worldwide today, and one of the big things that is being reformed is the way we see God. Graham Cooke said something like this at a conference I was at recently "What you think about God is the most important thing in your life – everything in your life flows out of that."
If everything in our life flows out of the way we see God, then maybe it would be good for us to have a look at how we see Him. How do you see God – really? Do you see Him as a God of judgment or one of mercy, a God of harsh discipline or loving discipline, a God who is disappointed with you or one who knows your frailties, one who is sick of the sin in your life or one who has forgiven you (even ahead of time), a God who wishes you'd get your act together or the one that is lovingly and patiently transforming you into the image of His Son.
We all know the right words - God is love, He is gracious, He is kind, faithful, merciful, patient etc. but do we really see Him like that? Do we daily experience Him like that? A closer look at the way we live would often show that even though we say we know what God is like, we still attribute the most horrible things to Him. For example, we say that God loves to heal people, yet we may think of a bout of sickness as God trying to teach us something. I remember talking to a lady with a broken leg one day who said that God had done it (pushed her down the stairs) because she had been disobedient and wasn't spending the time with Him that He wanted her to. Now that is a warped idea of a loving Father, isn't it, yet many Christians believe similar things about God.
What you believe about God is what you will unknowingly, or sadly even willingly, project onto your circumstances. If you see God as a stern taskmaster then you'll live from that viewpoint, always fearful of disappointing Him. You'll see every circumstance as Him testing you to see if you make the grade as a Christian. Maybe you see Him as a God of judgment, a God of harsh discipline, a God who is sick of the sin in your life, and who wishes you'd hurry up and get your act together. Any of these will cause you to live under intense pressure to perform. Yet none of these are a true picture of God.
A Fresh Look
Have a fresh look at some old favourites, verses we all know very well…
Gal 5:22 – the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. This list is not just talking about what we should be like, it's what He is like. God is these things and He is these things with you – they are not just how God chooses to act, they are Him – He is those things.
1 Cor 13 – the love chapter – love is patient and kind, does not envy or boast, is not arrogant or rude, does not insist on its own way, is not irritable or resentful, does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends…. it's who God is and what He's like.
Ps 154:8,9 He is gracious, merciful, slow to anger (patient to the max) and good to all…
Zeph 3: 17 God is delighted with you… not disappointed in you.
We live out of what we believe God is like.
In Hosea, (Hos 2:14,15,19, 20) we see God drawing Israel into the wilderness to speak tenderly to her. Yes, we will no doubt face difficult circumstances this year, but they are not punishment from God; they are the stuff of life, and God wants to draw us through them in His love, proving Himself to us in them. As I've looked at scripture I see time and time again that the wilderness is full of God's miraculous provision and mercy, not punishment. In the passage in Hosea He goes on to say that the Valley of Achor would become a doorway of hope and inheritance. Whatever hard times come upon you this year, God wants you to see them as a doorway of hope – hope of a good outcome, because that's what He promises (Rom 8:28). Those hard times are where He will bring you into your inheritance and give you joy (the vineyards in this passage speak of that). God intends that every difficult circumstance will bring us more fully into our inheritance and into the working of His great power on our behalf.
We need to know that God does not use the enemy or circumstances to spank/discipline His children. He intends when bad or hard circumstances happen that we turn the enemy's assaults and attacks into opportunities to partner with Him to transform them into doorways of hope and goodness.
I love the little dialogue that Graham Cooke does of a telephone call he has with a friend that goes something like this - "Hey Fred, guess what? I have a problem – it's a big one, it turned up this morning and gave me a bit of a fright to start with, but then I thought… it's going to be good, I can feel it. Holy Spirit and I are going to make big mileage from this one. I am going to come out of it stronger and more full of faith than ever before, because God is determined to use it for good in my life. " You get the picture don't you? The perspective you see from will determine how you move through the situations you face this year.
What you see sets things in motion. What you see determines what you speak, and what you speak creates things – atmospheres, realities, self fulfilling prophecies and more.
What are we seeing from?
- Our wounds
- Our wafare
- Our weariness
- Our sense of rejection
- Our isolation
- Our disappointments
- Our despair
- Or… hope
- Trust in God's goodness
- His faithfulness
- His lovingkindess… etc
We serve a good God - good all the way through, no shadow of turning into anything else in Him. His plans for you this year are to do you good and only good, and to turn every situation you find yourself in into good and into a blessing for you and others (Rom 8:28).
The word 'Crisis' in the Chinese language is made up of two characters, both a word in themselves. The first means 'danger' and the second means 'opportunity'. The word 'Crisis' has both light and dark aspects within it, and possible positive or negative outcomes. The Chinese word for crisis expresses this particularly clearly; "Wei" meaning "danger" and "Chi" meaning opportunity. The danger lies in losing ourselves in the crisis, letting it overwhelm and destroy us. The opportunity lies in the discovery of new or latent qualities within, the revelation of new possibilities, dreams, and desires never before considered or imagined, and our eventual rising stronger and happier than ever."
Get God's perspective; see from there so you can speak from there. Where you see from is where you'll speak from and what your words will create around your life.
It's time for the Church to come out of defeatist unbelieving Christianity and become right-seeing, hope-filled people that reform the world around us with His hope and His goodness. Hope is an unashamed triumphalist mindset – it is the confident expectation that God is determined to do good in your life, and through your life to others. Some people are afraid of that word "triumphalist". They think that to have a triumphalist mindset is to have your head in the sand so you don't see the bad things. It's not – it's knowing that God is bigger than the bad, and will turn it to good in your life.
Scripture tells us that God always leads us in triumph in Christ Jesus (2 Cor 2:14) "But praise be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and makes clear through us (in every place) the value of the knowledge of Him." That word 'always' is a biggy isn't it? Always doesn't mean 'sometimes' or 'occasionally', it means always! God's plan is to always lead us in triumph, yet so often we settle for seeing our struggles ending in defeat, and therefore end up living in defeat.
What you see is where you'll direct your focus and efforts and what you'll end up producing in your life. Do you see God leading you in triumph in your current circumstances? If triumph is His intended outcome then He has a mindset for you in the circumstances and a strategy to get you through them and lead you out in triumph. Triumphing doesn't mean that every circumstance will go the way you want it to, but it does mean that you will triumph in the circumstance – growing in faith, trust, authority etc. God will bring good out of every circumstance - that's His promise, and He doesn't lie.
Maybe a triumphalist mindset is the one we should have as a Christian. Maybe any other mindset is seeing below what is God's reality, and therefore living below where God intends us. This year let God transform you by the renewing of your mind, so you can see what is His good, acceptable and perfect will for you – to become a partaker of the divine nature and be conformed to the image of Christ. (Rom 12:2; 2 Pet 1:3,4; Rom 8:29). That way you will see life differently and live it differently – from a true Kingdom perspective, and you will release Heaven into earth wherever you go and whatever circumstances you find yourself in.