Pastor Ray Viola
A Godward, Christ-centered Perspective
An integral part of a healthy walk with Christ stems from what we choose to focus on in life. The Christian life is a supernatural life that is lived in the natural realm. When the apostle Paul was writing to the church at Corinth about being at home in the body, but absent from being with The Lord, he declared that we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Isn’t it interesting that the verses that precede and follow this verse regarding walking by faith and not by sight contain the word “confident”.
Paul tells us that he did not look at the things that were seen, but at the things that were unseen. I understand the things that are seen to be referring to his circumstances. And the circumstances that he was referring to were quite daunting (cp. 2 Corinthians 6:3-10, 11:23-28). Paul could endure such adversities because he was looking at things that could not be seen. I believe that Moses had the very same perspective for the writer of Hebrews tells us that “by faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible.” (Hebrew 11:27) One can only see Him Who is invisible with the eye of faith. And one can only receive that gift of faith by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8).
What we are talking about here, beloved, is the need for us to cultivate a Godward and heavenly perspective in life. We must repeatedly preach to ourselves the truth that as Christians we are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13) Our citizenship is in heaven, from where also we look (perspective) for The Savior, The Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20). While we are absent from The Lord, we need to diligently determine to set our affection on things above, not on things of the earth (Colossians 3:2). Yes, we are taught in Scripture to display our faith in Christ with hard-working, God-glorifying work ethics (Ephesians 6:5-9). Proverbs repeatedly warns us against laziness (Proverbs 24:30-34) in order that we may provide for our families (1 Timothy 5:8) and be a good witness (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15). However, it is only by keeping a Godward focus that we can prevent being trapped and ensnared by the thorns of this fallen world (Luke 8:14).
By Lynn Metier
“Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”(Revelation 3:20) Sharing a meal with someone in the culture of Jesus’ day meant a level of fellowship that is largely missing today. In our fast-paced culture most connections are superficial and relationships are shallow. It is possible to “know” (be acquainted with) many people, but really know, or be known by, no one.
The word know is a verb, an action word, and its meanings include: to recognize, be acquainted with, have sexual relationship with, understand, experience. Thus, even by definition, the activity of knowing is not limited to mental involvement, but can encompass other levels of interfacing, including physical, emotional, and spiritual. Of course the all-knowing Creator is aware of and knowledgeable about every one of His created beings. “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31) And God’s knowledge of men goes beyond casual observation or statistical analysis (Psalm 139:1-6,13-18). Why does God care so much about us? For one thing, humanity is God’s crowning creation because Adam and Eve were created in the very image of God (Genesis 1:27), and God’s desire and plan is for the redeemed to become like Jesus. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). Did you catch that? “…whom He foreknew”. Those people whom God (in His infinite foresight, complete comprehension and total understanding) knew before the creation of the universe (Ephesians 1:4-5) would, in the exercise of their free will, receive His grace, recognize their helpless and hopeless state of sinfulness (Isaiah 64:6), and respond to His offer of salvation and eternal life, they are the ones destined for divine transformation and glory (Romans 8:30).