When we talk about having perspective, we know that we are talking about how we’re able to view a particular subject from a point of view that may not be how we initially viewed it. Getting a proper perspective means that we take an honest look at the way things really are and not just see what we want to see. The proper perspective comes, when we see the larger picture. We sometimes become weary and disgusted, because we are only focusing on part of the picture. Taking a bigger view may give us reason to be encouraged and even quite optimistic. At times, our optimism and enthusiasm can overshadow our sense of being realistic. Elijah lost perspective at one time. He thought he was the only one who wanted to do what was right. He said, “I alone am left” (1 Kings 19:10). God had to provide a little perspective for him, by telling him that there were still 7,000 who had not bowed down to worship Baal (1 Kings 19:18). As Christians, there are a few questions about our past, present and future, that we need to ask ourselves, in order to give us perspective in our walk.
The first thing we need perspective of is how much progress we have made. We need to look back and see where we were, and how far we have come. Have we made any progress? Are things better now, than they were? Or, are we going in the wrong direction? Remember, progress is in many instances slow.
“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:11-14).
Do you know the Bible better now, than you did a few years ago? Are you stronger and more mature? Are you able to endure and overcome things that you could not in the past? As individuals, these are questions we can ask ourselves, but churches have to do the same. While things may not be as we would like them to be in the congregation, the question is "Are we making progress?" Are we moving (even though slowly) in the right direction? Are we more united, stronger and striving to do things according to the Bible? Are we trying to deal with problems rather than ignore them?
This leads us to ask questions about what we are presently doing. Are we striving to do what the Lord says do? Can our concepts, teaching and practices be justified by the Bible (2 Cor. 4: 13)? Are we growing in knowledge, in maturity and in number? Are we moving in the right direction, rather than in the wrong direction? We can easily get discouraged, when we listen to those who are discontent. If we focus our attention there, it will give us a limited picture of what we, as individuals and also as a collective, can do. We can begin to think that most of the people care little about doing what is right. Sometimes the few can make enough noise to make us think it’s the majority. What we need to do is take a look at how many want to follow the Bible and try their best to live by it (Phil. 1: 27). Those people don't make as much "noise," but must be taken into account to get the proper perspective.
To get the right view, we must see how bright or gloomy the future is. Is there reason for some optimism, as we contemplate the coming days? What is our potential as individuals? What are you capable of doing? What kind of growth can you experience? What can you become? It is sad to see those, who waste their time and throw away their potential (Heb. 5: 11-12).
I will use an illustration to serve a point: What if on that final day as we are standing before God, giving an account for what we have done in our life, He were to reveal to us what we did with our lives and then suddenly reveal to us what we COULD have been, if we actually used the talents He gave us? This sobering illustration can help us give ourselves self-awareness, to help us really evaluate whether we are doing all that we can to serve our Lord to the best of our abilities. What is our potential as a church? What will the church of tomorrow be? Will the homes and the families that comprise the church be good solid homes or will the growing lack of Christianity in the home destroy the church? What is the potential for future teachers, song leaders and even elders? Does the future look better and brighter than the past? What goals do we have or should we have? Individually, we must set our sights on being the kind of individuals that the Bible describes (1 Cor. 15: 58). When we do, we have also set our sights on heaven (Col. 3:1- 3).
Getting the proper perspective always helps. At times it will paint a dark picture, which we don’t like to see. But in most cases, it will give us some reason for encouragement and enlightenment.