Thursday, July 7, 2011

Which Lens Do You Use?

We all view life through a filter - a lens that helps us understand and respond. For most, the lens of personal experience rules our comprehension. If we had an abusive father, the way we look at men is tilted to match our understanding. If we were raised with divorced parents, our view of marriage is different than if our parents had a strong marriage. If we were raised in a legalistic church, our taste for church is different than the person who steps in the door for the first time.

Experience tends to rule the day.

As believers, however, we are given a new lens through which we view life, called the Word of God.

Now, some of you wrinkled your nose at that comment, as if to say, "What does she mean?" or maybe even, "Oh, brother - here comes the super-spiritualized analogy." If your response was the second one, it's probably because you've had some bad experience in this area. But don't move on...hear me out.

God gave us His Word so that we could know Him. It reveals His character and gives us hope and peace when life is difficult to understand. He is consistent, unchanging and eternal. Upon salvation, Jesus trades identities with us, takes on our sin, pays the price for us and gives us His righteousness. We are no longer the same person, nor do we view life through the same lens.

Because of the flesh, our natural response is a sinful one. But in Christ, we have the ability to respond in righteousness. Unfortunately this transformation, though immediate as far as our position before God, is not a magical, blink-your-eyes-and-you-sin-no-more kind of transformation. It's called sanctification and it takes time and effort.

We do not naturally think like Jesus. Now that we have His Spirit, we are able to but we need to be in His Word in order to understand Him better, to know His character and to see life the way He sees it.

When we grow in Christ, our past experiences will no longer rule our understanding and comprehension, but God's Word will. For example, if marriage is unattractive because of your past, let God show you His design and purpose for marriage - it's beautiful, it's respectable and it's life-long. If your father was abusive, learn about fatherhood from our heavenly Father. If church is a frustrating memory for you, read His Word and find out why God loves the church so much. View life from the lens of scripture.

Why am I pondering on this today? Because there have been a lot of emotional responses to the current events of the day. Everybody's talking about it. Some believers are condemning Casey Anthony and angry that she will be released a free woman soon. Others are declaring that as believers, our sin is as heinous as hers and we are children born of mercy and grace - how dare we condemn her?

Well, what should our response be? As you formulate your response, let me encourage you to look at this event through the lens of scripture. What does God's Word say about sin, mercy and reaping and sowing? Having a balanced response will bring glory to the Lord, as He will give us opportunity to speak of His righteousness because of this very sad situation.

And I daresay, if we view this through the lens of His Word, our response will actually surprise us.

"What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8

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