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FIRST-PERSON: What is your perspective on life?

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–For every individual on planet earth there is a perspective about what life is all about. There are millions of perspectives about how life is to be meaningful and significant. How people perceive life is the filter — the worldview people use to determine their decision making.

While the Christian community holds that the revelation of God is the authority for a person’s worldview, the secular world attempts to propagate the idea that no authority outside the law of the community has the right to determine how life is to be lived. The secularist is at the whim of what everybody else thinks. The follower of Christ holds core values founded on the authority of God’s Word.

When a person chooses to surrender his/her life to the Lord Jesus, a worldview transformation occurs. Life is no longer about the individual’s perspective. The way a person lives and the reason a person lives is to live for Christ, for His purposes. It is as if the Lord’s worldview, His perspective, becomes the heartbeat of the child of God.

The Christian perspective does not in any way imply some kind of monolithic lifestyle of uniformity. Although many have tried to demand common dress, common housing and common finances, believers have historically celebrated diversity within the parameters of biblical principles.

The faith perspective (the worldview of the follower of Christ) is consumed with the notion of obedience to God’s ways rather than the pursuit of individualistic achievement. California pastor Rick Warren branded the phrase, “It’s not about me — It’s all about Him” to capture the idea that life’s core values are for God’s purposes and not the individual’s.

In recent Christian history, Southern Baptist evangelist Manley Beasley was a renowned teacher on the concept of faith and its implications for life even when faced with suffering. Although most of his adult life was impacted by terminal illnesses, he believed that every day he lived was the direct result of God at work in his life and body. He possessed a keen perspective of life that many people, even Christians, overlook.

He was often heard using a lemon to describe how to authenticate a person’s worldview. “What do you get when you squeeze a lemon?” When stuff happens in life (the squeeze), he maintained that the reaction is what demonstrates a person’s genuine perspective of life. Then he would teach the Christians in his audience, “The Lord wants to bring us to the point that whenever we are squeezed, what comes out will be the nature and fragrance of Jesus.”

There are places in Scripture where the perspective of God is very clear. One of those places is Psalm 96. In just a few precise words, the psalmist captures God’s instructions about how people can fully embrace a biblical perspective on living a purposeful, productive life.

Verses 1-9 are an anthem to the incredible, indescribable glory of the person of God. Then in verse 10, the psalmists shifts from writing to the audience of the Holy One to humanity. His instructions are simple.

— Boldly pronounce that God reigns over his creation. This is not a small thing when academia, the high places of government education and the national media are harmoniously attempting to sing over the voices of God’s children. However, even if we are the only voice, let our voices be heard that God, the living God reigns over all His creation. His creation is orderly and he orchestrates history to reveal his purposes.

— The principles operating the earth are firmly established. Mankind’s prideful, hedonistic attempts to modify nature are futile. God is not mocked by a segment of humans who think they know more than he does. The aggressive pursuit of excellence, open inquiry and honesty are characteristics of those people of faith whose mindset is congruent with the Creator.

— While the naturalist believes there is not an end to earth as we know it, Biblicists unreservedly affirm the reality that in the end there is an ultimate accounting. Because of the teachings of the New Testament, the measurement of judicial equity in the end has to do with one’s relationship with the person of the Lord Jesus. Others would prefer to measure the value of life with a different quantifier, but the Judge of the Universe begins with His criteria.

— Live a life of praise to the One who formed the universe by His breath. A life of praise has little to do with one’s expressions at a particular church worship service and has everything to do with an attitude of life. Imagine the power of a person’s life who is more engaged in loving God and others than consumed with pleasing self. This God-centered attitude impacts a person’s ethics, business, education, church, etc.

When a person’s life perspective coincides with the Creator’s perspective, then one’s potential to fulfill a life of significance and purposefulness is actualized.
John L. Yeats is director of communications for the Louisiana Baptist Convention and recording secretary of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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  • John L. Yeats