By Ryan Shaw
There is one issue that is so important for our spiritual lives, that failing to cultivate it deliberately can be the difference between spiritual maturity and immaturity.
It is the issue of spiritual perspective. Do we see God’s hand working in the midst of challenging, difficult circumstances as well as what we perceive as the good? Or do we get angry and offended at God, misinterpreting what is happening around us?
We want to ask God to expand our spiritual perspective so we gain understanding of what His purpose is in and through our circumstances. As a result we can rightly respond to God with a learning heart in order to grow in the specific way He is seeking.
Too many believers simply go with the flow of life, not really understanding or discerning the spiritual significance of situations around them. As a result they cannot properly grow spiritually from them.
Events around us are not as haphazard as we may think. We simply have not learned the skill of discerning God’s hand and purposes in them.
It is important to remind ourselves that God is the orchestrator of many of the events of our lives, yes, even the challenging ones. He has “good” at the heart of each event but His definition of “good” is often different than our own.
One of His primary goals in our lives is to shape and mold us into the image of Christ. Every circumstance we face enables us to either become more like Christ or less like Him, based on our response.
Jonah found himself in a challenging circumstance that was self-imposed due to disobedience. God orchestrated the storm by His own hand. Jonah had enough spiritual perspective to discern he was the reason for the storm.
He then began to understand the heart of God in the matter. God was deeply concerned about His prophet and wanted to open his eyes to a greater reality than Jonah had previously known. God sought to expand Jonah’s perspective so the same disobedience would not happen in the future.
In the book of Habakkuk we find a lot about this issue of spiritual perspective. The book is an account of a believers’ conflict of faith and of his ultimate triumph of faith.
Habakkuk is in a crisis in his life and ministry. He sees injustice and ungodliness all about him and is beginning to doubt God, His character and His promises.
The book opens in confusion and questioning and closes in certainty and exuberant adoration in an unseen God. What happened in the middle – Habakkuk gained spiritual perspective from the Lord.
We are meant to see a divine pattern in Habakkuk – a God who desires to give His people spiritual perspective in the midst of crisis and misunderstanding.
Habakkuk teaches that being perplexed at circumstances about us is okay, yet remaining in that place is not. God is ever seeking to expand our perspective replacing it with His own divine perspective based on the Word of God.
At every stage of life and ministry we need broader spiritual understanding and perspective than previously. This is what growing into spiritual maturity is all about. Apart from this we easily plateau spiritually and generally our hearts grow cold.
This expanded perspective requires a greater measure of living by faith in God and by faithfulness to God. We grasp a new measure of spiritual perspective that boosts our trust and confidence in God alone.
This is what Habakkuk experienced and that we experience at varying points in life and ministry as God orchestrates circumstances.