Dr Mike Spaulding, Pastor of Calvary Chapel of Lima, OH
I have found the book of Psalms to be a gold mine of knowledge and encouragement and if grasped and applied, wisdom. As most of you who follow my blog (www.drmikespaulding.com) and teaching ministry (www.thetransformingword.com) know, I have been teaching through Psalms for nearly three years now and a conservative estimate is that it will take another three to four years to complete. The Bible is so full of nourishment for believers that it is a shame so many Bible teachers hurry through it as if they have a schedule to maintain. In doing so they miss the rich texture and multi-layered significance of the Word.
One such example is what I realized recently as I studied Psalm 39 in preparation for teaching through it. The musings of David about his life and his circumstances led him to consider that perhaps his viewpoint was not accurate and so he cried out to God for a fresh perspective (verse 5).
Have you ever considered the importance of a proper perspective? The New Testament teaches that we are to be diligent in our study of the Bible so that we are able to accurately handle the “word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The Apostle Paul also instructed the Corinthian believers with these words: “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature” (1 Corinthians 14:20). Earlier in the same letter Paul told these believers that everyone who is born again has “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). Considering that truth gave me pause.
What are the implications of this truth? Because we have the mind of Christ in fact and in promise, we must make the most of that; to see the world as God sees it; to think through the challenges we face today with a fresh perspective – with the mind of Christ. I found this quote from TM Moore in my digital library that captures the essence of the point I am making here.
The mind is, together with the heart and the conscience, one of the components of the soul. It’s the aspect that manages our thought processes. Those who have come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and King have been renewed in their minds; they must no longer use their brains like unbelievers do, but, instead, work to think like Jesus about everything (Eph. 4:17-24). We cannot live the full and abundant life in Christ without increasing engagement of the mind and all its functions. To the mind falls the task of gathering, comparing, sorting, and storing all the information that comes our way. The mind creates new ideas out of fragments of thought. With our minds we formulate plans, organize our work, direct our speech, and routinely assess our progress in every facet of life. The process of thinking includes the varied activities of observing, analyzing, comparing, combining, revising, refining, improving, cataloguing, and organizing everything we think, say, and do. Further, our minds are continuously active. They pursue their God-given functions no matter what. If we’re not diligently and faithfully attending to those functions, the world spirit of the age will obligingly squeeze our thinking into its own mold (Rom. 12:1, 2 Phillips version). As John Stott indicated in a book by this title, your mind matters, and it matters very much. It is indeed a terrible gift to waste, and, if we find that we’re acting like children in our thinking, as the Corinthians were, then we need to press on to maturity and make the most of this glorious gift of God.
We see David doing that in Psalm 39:3 – “while I was musing the fire burned.” While he was contemplating life, his life and his circumstances, his whole being burned to know, to understand, and so he cried out to God in verse 4. There David is asking God for and thanking Him for perspective. David is saying, “Help me to see life, to see myself through Your eyes God.”
A proper perspective is a liberating thing to acquire. Often our perspective is flawed and it becomes a prison of the mind that is nearly impossible to escape. But for those who will seek God for His perspective there are a multitude of blessings.
Consider these three blessings of a proper God-given view of life.
(1) When we see things as God sees them we love Him more. Study carefully what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians in 3:13-21. Of particular interest is verse 13 where Paul says don’t focus on my circumstances because you will despair. In other words don’t lock into an earth-bound perspective. Then note verses 16-19 where Paul says instead of focusing on troubles focus on the riches you have in Christ and the great love that God has for you because when you do that you will be “filled up to all the fullness of God” (verse 19). All I can say is wow!
(2) When we gain God’s perspective we see temptations as they really are and are strengthened to resist them. That is one truth we see emerging from Psalm 39:3-4. David contemplates, he “muses” about life and its ups and downs and concludes that if he is to resist the wicked (Psalm 39:2) and if he is to resist sin and temptation (Psalm 39:1) he must acquire the mind of God (Psalm 39:4).
(3) Having God’s perspective on life and circumstances protects us from being carried about by every wind and wave of false doctrine. Ephesians 4:11-16 speaks of this. Note in that passage verse 15 which says that believers are to “grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” We are to acquire the mind of Christ increasingly. This is the essence of spiritual maturity.
Remember friends, “God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
May God richly bless you as you seek Him with your whole heart today.
The TM Moore quote is from his article “The Mature Mind: Having and Using the Mind of Christ,” a publication of Wilberforce Press. It is available at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview by clicking here.