Before we can answer why perspective is important in life, it helps to first define our terms. Webster’s defines perspective as the capacity to view things in their true relation or relative importance. My personal definition is to be able to ascribe the proper level of importance and maintain objective relevance to what is appealing or complex.
As we approach and navigate the 4th quarter of our lives, the perspectives we hold will shape the way we head to the finish line. This isn’t an easy season of life. But let’s not allow the difficulties to bring inconsistency, or even hypocrisy, between what we say we believe and how we live. Perhaps it is more critical now than ever to have an accurate perspective with which to face our decisions and experiences!
Perspective Shapers And 4th Quarter Transitions
Before we can define what is “accurate”, I believe it’s important to identify what influences our perspectives. First, we are vulnerable to our emotions, and often persuaded by our own selfish tendencies. Second, many of us have easy access to the indescribable beauty and unlimited pleasure of the world around us. As followers of Christ, these can pose a predicament. How do we navigate the experiences, influences, pleasures, and temptations around us? And do so, ensuring we live a life of holiness and purpose in tune with God’s will. Our response to this predicament, especially in the 4th quarter, carries great weight. For it will largely determine how we live this season of life.
As I assess my own life, I am convinced the 4th quarter presents transitions unique to this period. These often include a move from a home we’ve lived in for a long time. Moves that may require relocation to another town, or even a new state. Others may include finding a new church and needing to make new friendships. Of course, aging also requires us to pay closer attention to our health. Finally, there are adult children, weddings, and gray hair. And last, but not least, many of us experience one of God’s most beautiful creations – grandchildren!
Why Perspective is Important
In all these changes, it is our perspective that will determine the value we place on each of our options and pursuits. It is our perspective that will decide the factors that will influence us. By what will our perspective be shaped? Will it be God’s Word and will for our lives? Will it be what our culture recommends or what we see others doing? Or something else?
Whether we realize it or not, each of us assigns an order of importance to the various aspects of life. One loves golf and plays twice a month, while another loves golf and plays twice a week. In all the important issues we face in life, we experience the crosswinds of opinions and influences. Slogans are often tossed around without much evaluation or analysis. Two favorites spring to mind, “Well, it’s ALL about family,” or “It’s ALL about the grandkids.” My response to both is, “No, it’s not ALL about either of them. Both are important, but so are many other things.”
So often our perspective is formed by what we want or how we have allowed ourselves to live. I have a closet full of shirts – more than I want to admit. But if I go shopping and see one I really like, my desire to purchase it can easily influence my perspective on my “need” for it. Perhaps I convince myself that “this one” is different from any I already have. Or it will be perfect if I get invited to that certain event. You may be laughing at this example, and I hope it’s because you can relate!
Absent an objective set of standards, our perspectives are easily influenced without us even realizing what is happening. Our pride, our need for attention, or lack of contentment, can all contribute to the perspectives by which we live.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to divorce ourselves from our fleshly responses to our circumstances and to be made new in the attitude of our minds (Ephesians 4:23, Paraphrase)
The Best Perspective Shaper
I want to propose that the most effective guardrail to keep the attitude of our minds – our perspective – pure and accurate, is Scripture. The Gospels and Epistles provide insight into how God measures priorities and what a healthy perspective looks like. Scripture talks a great deal about financial matters, marriages, raising a family, our sexuality, and how to treat others.
- It offsets the alluring voices of fashion, automotive dreams, home improvements, or the pursuit of hobbies;
- It reminds us of what truly matters most; and
- It is the Truth that keeps our eyes focused on God’s purpose and plan for our lives throughout our 4th quarter.
My goal for this blog is to show how our perspectives on our needs and wants can be easily influenced away from the Truth of Scripture. Are there substitutions to God’s Word that may be shaping your current perspective?
I’m excited to write next on the prescription Scripture offers for reframing our perspectives. More than that…how to acquire an accurate perspective. A perspective that can transform our responses to even the most difficult of challenges and bring God glory in the process. Stay tuned…