The apostle Paul described himself as “harassed at every turn — conflicts on the outside, fears within” (2 Cor. 7:5). His life was in crisis. Notice what God used to provide the comfort and renewal he needed . . . other believers.
But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever. (2 Cor. 7:6-7)
To thrive and not just survive takes perspective but usually there must first come the realization of presence … the presence of God Himself and other believers ministering to our souls, being there for and with us.
We are at a place in our lives of being able to comfort others when we ourselves have known God’s comfort (2 Cor. 1:3-4). We don’t have to go through an identical situation to be there for others. And, we don’t need an official position (i.e., pastor, teacher, counselor, etc.) to be able to help people who are struggling or are in crisis. We simply need to obey the one another commands of Scripture.
Bear one another’s burdens
Bear with one another
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Eph. 4:2)
Care for one another
. . . so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. (1 Cor. 12:25)
Comfort one another
Therefore encourage each other with these words. (1 Thess. 4:18)
Encourage one another
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thess. 5:11)
Be Kind to one another
Love one another
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another. (Rom. 13:8)
Pray for one another
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)
Serve one another
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love. (Gal. 5:13)
Spur one another on
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (Heb. 10:24)
Keep in mind that people don’t have to personally experience a crisis to be affected by it. That point is brought home in a teacher training worksheet called, Crisis Strikes. Let’s be there for one another whether the threat is real or perceived so we learn to thrive and not just survive.
I’m sure you would agree that in today’s world we need a healthy perspective if we are going to not only survive but thrive. The comfort and encouragement of others will only take us so far. We need to make some semblance of sense of our world.
Encarta’s World English Dictionary defines perspective as:
1) a particular evaluation of something
2) a measured or objective assessment of a situation
The most reliable source of objectivity is God’s Word.
So often we struggle in life because we are viewing life from a skewed perspective. The most reliable source of objectivity is God’s Word. The Bible is the basis upon which our situations must be measured or evaluated.
Sometimes, however, we can know the truth in our heads but it doesn’t always sink deep into our hearts and manifest itself in our reactions and decisions.
What will help get truth from our heads to our hearts?
repeated exposure to truth
God tells us to meditate on Him and His Word so that with repeated exposure, through His Spirit, the truth begins to take root not only in our heads but also in our hearts. 40 Day Challenges are usually rooted in this understanding of what it takes to drive truth home.
deliberate choices regardless of feelings
Sometimes it comes down to making a deliberate, conscientious choice to pattern what we do after the Lord regardless of our feelings or personal bents. Perspective requires assessment against an objective standard, not simply going with the flow or with what “feels” right. At no time should we hide behind our personalities or conditioning as an excuse to stay where we are or sin. Healthy perspective is rooted in God and His Word, not in us. When our perspective is patterned after Him, He doesn’t eradicate what is uniquely us. Rather, He transforms it into something even better. When we act on what we know to be true, regardless of feelings, we see God’s faithfulness which helps to generate a heart response.
If you need help gaining perspective, perhaps some of the books listed below will help. Clicking on a title will take you to our affiliate store where you can learn more about the book.
- A Grace Disguised by Gerald Sittser
- Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey
- If God Is Good . . . Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil by Randy Alcorn
- Looking Up When Life is Looking Down by Beth Moore
- Second Guessing God: Hanging On When You Can’t See His Plan by Brian Jones
- Shattered Dreams: God’s Unexpected Path to Joy by Larry Crabb
- Where is God When It Hurts? by Philip Yancey
- Why? Trusting God When You Don’t Understand by Anne Graha