Everyone experiences those moments when you look around and just feel yourself sink under the weight of seeing nothing good- in anything. Even though that perspective is not in line with the perspective of faith, it still happens and it can be tough to fight against. Why? Because when you look at natural things with natural eyes you’re going to have a natural response, but when you look at natural things with spiritual eyes, you’ll have a spiritual response. Natural responses, those governed by your mind, are going to reflect the nature of this world: fear, anger, despair, hopelessness and more. Spiritual responses, those governed by the Holy Spirit within you are going to reflect the nature of God’s world: faith, strength, peace, joy, love, hope and more.
In Psalm 4, David was wrestling with the realization that, while he was living a righteous and godly life, others seemed to be flourishing while he was endlessly under trial and tribulation. “O people, how long will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love vanity and seek after lies?” he wrote. David saw what others were doing – even God’s own people: vanity, lies, shameful acts and he was questioning how long the Lord would endure this when the righteous seemed to struggle. “Who will show us any good?” he cried out in his distress. Yet, David refused to allow himself to let the natural circumstances dictate his experiences. That is the mark of a truly godly and spiritually mature person because it is not easy! But it is a higher calling.
…when you look at natural things with natural eyes you’re going to have a natural response, but when you look at natural things with spiritual eyes, you’ll have a spiritual response.
Here’s what David did: He refused to look at all the bad things, even though they never actually went away or changed. David forced his natural mind to see life with a spiritual perspective in these two ways:
1) “Commune with your own heart on your bed, and be still…” Every single person needs to make time to understand their own heart. So often we operate in life in a mode of reaction and response (the natural instinct) instead of stopping to think, evaluate and seek the Lord (the spiritual instinct). If you’re facing a season where you need a shift in your perspective, get alone and be still. (see Psalm 37:7)
2) “Offer sacrifices of righteousness…” Worship is one of the most crucial components of seeing natural things with spiritual eyes, as David did. David had a daily lifestyle that actively incorporated praising God by lifting his hands, singing, dancing, kneeling and bowing and ministering to the Lord. It made all the difference! The sacrifice of praise is graditude, expressed through ministry to the Lord, from your body, mind and spirit. (Read: Psalm 141:1-2)
3) “Trust in the Lord…” Over and over the Bible speaks to God’s people to trust in the Lord. Why? Because our natural inclination is to trust in ourselves, or to trust in what we see or to trust in another person. No! Trusting in the Lord means letting go of control in every, single way, even in your thought life. And each time a thought arises, you find a Scripture to declare over it. Your natural mind won’t understand it. It’ll conflict with what you see and feel. Welcome to the life of faith! (Read: Psalm 37:3-4, Isaiah 40:31 and Proverbs 3:5-6)
Thought for today
“Who will show us any good?” David’s song showed that his hope, his spiritual perspective, the one that brought him strength in difficult, confusing, stressful times was this: “…Lift up the light of Your face over us for You have placed gladness in my heart that is better than when their corn and their new wine abound.” Ask the Lord to illuminate the eyes of your spirit with His perspective. Ask Him to show you what He sees and what He wants you to see about your life. He will shine His light into the shadowed areas and you will see this: “You have placed gladness in my heart…” The joy of the Lord goes well beyond the natural realm and any circumstances that distress or confuse or hurt you. His joy is “better than when their corn and their new wine abound.” Sure, maybe in the natural realm it will still seem like everyone else achieves success or gets the applause and recognition or moves forward while you feel stuck and continue to prioritize your relationship with the Lord and continue sowing into the Kingdom without the visible accolades, but remember that in the spiritual realm, what He has given you is what He sees as better – the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10), and in His presence you will find the fullness of that joy (Psalm 16:11). Keep pressing on, friend!
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