Keep looking down.
You’re seated with Christ in heavenly places.
There’s something about seeking Jesus that changes our perspective. Often when we pray we try to explain the problem to God. When we don’t receive relief from unpleasant circumstances in the time and manner which seems logical to us we are tempted to go back to God and detail the problem again and beg for help. Perhaps we worry he is unaware of the seriousness of the situation and think that we can enlighten him.
I have been guilty of worrying at God, and then labeling it “my prayer time.” Apparently He is not all that impressed by my dramatic prognostications. “If this doesn’t happen soon, then that will happen and we’ll have an even bigger mess, so please answer right now, Lord.” I am slowly learning that as I spend time worshiping him he lifts me up to his perspective.
I read a quote by Ashley Brilliant that said, “Praise the Lord! But remember the Lord knows the difference between praise and flattery.”
I used to wonder why God needed praise. Was his ego so fragile he needed people to constantly boost him up? Was it to remind us of what lowly worms we were in comparison to Him? I’m embarrassed to admit my efforts at praise bore close resemblance to my efforts to butter my Daddy up before asking him for money when I was a kid.
One day after praying and thanking the Lord (quite genuinely this time) for miraculous ways he had intervened in my life even though I certainly didn’t deserve it, I put music on, closed my eyes and just listened. I had a vision of seeing the world from the viewpoint of an eagle. I felt like I was riding on the back of the eagle’s spread wings, soaring over incredibly rich forests, sparkling rivers and light-drenched coastlines in the warm low evening sun. I can’t describe the beauty.
Worship takes our eyes off ourselves, off our problems, and lets him take us up to a different perspective. He doesn’t need our validation to know who he is; we need his to know who we are, and worship turns our eyes toward him.
But God, with the unfathomable richness of His love and mercy focused on us, united us with the Anointed One and infused our lifeless souls with life—even though we were buried under mountains of sin—and saved us by His grace. He raised us up with Him and seated us in the heavenly realms with our beloved Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King. He did this for a reason: so that for all eternity we will stand as a living testimony to the incredible riches of His grace and kindness that He freely gives to us by uniting us with Jesus the Anointed. For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing. For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. (Ephesians 2:4-10 The Voice)
When we pray we can join with his plans, his solutions, from his perspective. Our current “impossible” circumstance may very well be the character-builder that leads to rich blessings for a future generation. Or it could be a ripe opportunity to see another aspect of God’s love and goodness that we have never seen before. It’s just hard to see the bigger picture when we are smack up against a fence that is 4 inches higher than our eyeballs.
“I don’t get it!” I cry. “I can’t see any way around this problem!”
“So come back up here,” Jesus offers.
“How do I get there again?” I ask.
“Enter my gates with thanksgiving in your heart. Enter my courts with praise. I am the one who lifts you up. This is where you belong.”
You lift me over all the earthbound things
and like a bird my heart is flying free
I’m soaring on the song Your Spirit brings
O Lord of all You let me see a vision of Your majesty.
You lift me up, you carry me on your Spirit wings.”
(Claire Coninger and Michael Foster based on a poem by Madame Guyon)