(Editor's Note: This blog was written by Jonathan Stagg who is interning with The Stand's Engage division.)
Perspective is important. Is the glass half empty or half full? Does our recent mistake doom us to failure, or is it a valuable learning experience? How we view events in the world around us depends on our worldview. As Christians, we should interpret Scripture through the lens that Scripture provides. Learning to develop a positive outlook on life by looking for God’s blessings is pleasing to the Lord. However, it can be easy even for Christians to see the chaotic events taking place in the world and feel hopeless. There is enough evil in the world to keep us miserable and sleepless for the rest of our lives. But if we look for evidence of what God is doing and has done, we will see how good He is and great His love is for all.
One reason to not obsess over the evil in the world is that it will leave us feeling hopeless and discouraged, leading us to live a defeated Christian life controlled by fear. When we live in fear, we are not trusting in God, and we forget the object of our faith. We should be aware of what is happening in the world and understand how we are to respond to evil but being afraid of the potential threats does nothing but weaken our faith. Peter and Daniel are good examples of this concept; one bad, the other good. Peter is an example of one looking at the danger. While he initially trusted Jesus in Matthew 14 as he walked out onto the water, he quickly shifted his focus to the danger of the storm around him and started sinking. Daniel, on the other hand, though he was placed in a dangerous life-threatening situation remained focused on God and was saved from death.
Trying to look for the good in life will also cause us to be more aware of God’s many blessings. There will always be evil until the final judgment; we can’t do anything to change that. Yet, if we are complaining and focusing on all this, we will be missing so many blessings that God is sending our way. In 2 Kings 6, the king of Aram was enraged with Elisha because the prophet warned the Israelites of his every battle plan. To put an end to this trouble, the king of Aram sent his army at night to surround the city of Dothan where Elisha was. In the morning Elisha’s servant saw the army of the king and was fearful until God opened his eyes to see God’s mighty army of horses and chariots of fire filling up the whole mountain. This story perfectly illustrates the point. Like Elisha’s servant, many times we focus on the dangers of the enemy surrounding us. We need to ask God to help us see His powerful army that is all around us, protecting us from the enemy. We can learn to think this way as we study His word and talk to Him through prayer.
This is something God is helping me to change in my life. I naturally see the bad in each situation and stress out about the potential of things going wrong in most scenarios. I once wrote a song called “Forgotten Blessings” which says that instead of focusing on all that is bad in the world think about all the evil that God holds back. Imagine how bad life would be if God held back His hand of protection.
A third reason for focusing on the good is that our testimony will be strengthened when others see the joy of the Lord in our lives. What hope do we have to offer to others if we are always depressed and scared even though our fears are legitimate? We want people to know we have the hope of Christ so that by seeing our lives they will be drawn to Him.