When the servant of Elisha saw that the king of Syria had surrounded the city of Dothan in order to capture Elisha, he trembled in fear, not knowing what would become of them. But Elisha comforted him by assuring him that “they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” He must have been uncertain as to what they meant until, when the servants’ eyes were opened, he saw “the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha” (II Kings 6:13-18).
Much too often we fail to see things in the right way, as they really are. The truth is, “the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (I Sam. 16:7). While we might be clean in our own eyes, the Lord looks at us as we really are and weighs our spirits (Prov. 16:2). The way we look at an issue, will determine how we will address it.
The story is told of two rival shoe salesmen who went to a very backward country. When the first man got off the plane and looked around, he immediately went to the nearest phone and called his office. “Buy me a ticket and bring me back home. No one wears shoes here. There is no market!” The second shoe salesman got off the plane and looked around. He, too, went immediately to the nearest phone and called the home office. “Send me all the shoes we have. The market is wide open. Everyone needs shoes here!” How we look at the situation determines how we respond.
Some look at their own sin-filled life and wonder how they can ever straighten it out. Like the rich young ruler, they look at it as an impossible task (Luke 18:18-30). “Who then can be saved?” they wonder (v. 26). As long as we focus on our possessions, which is what the rich young ruler did, then we will not see the greater issues involved. For “what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:6).
When Jesus came to the apostles by walking on water while they were in the boat, Peter wanted to walk to Jesus on the water, too. And, at first, he did. But when he took his eyes off of Jesus and focused only on the wind and the boisterous sea, he began to sink (Matt. 14:25-33). When we take our eyes off of Jesus, when we lose focus in life, when we don’t see things as they really are, we will sink in the boisterous waves of life. That is why we must ever look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:1,2).
Sometimes how we look at things is betrayed by our speech. Some say, “I have to go to church Sunday” or “I have to go to Bible study.” But one who has the right attitude will sincerely say and mean “I get to go to worship” or “I get to go to Bible study.” They will see it as a privilege and a blessing instead of a burden and a chore. Some look at giving in the same light: “I have to give to the church…” instead of “I get to give back to the Lord…”
How we sincerely look at things makes a big difference in our life. If our eyes are opened and we see things as they really are, when we see that sin is real (Rom. 3:23), and when we see that God’s love is manifested to us in the gift of His Son (John 3:16), when we see and understand that Jesus’ sacrifice was necessary (Heb. 9:17-22), and when we see that there is a judgement day coming (Acts 17:30,31), it will make a difference in the way we live our life.
Eric L. Padgett