I forgot what real cold was like even though I spent three years in Alaska, but pumping gas New Year’s morning with the temp at minus-8 was a quick reminder.
I was leaving O’Fallon, Missouri after a holiday visit with friends. The cold was so intense it froze the gas pump number pad making my credit card unusable. I had to go inside to pay, which served to emphasize how much I didn’t want to be outside.
I needed gas again a few hours later in Forrest City, Arkansas where the thermometer read 19. The air felt balmy even though it was still 13 degrees below freezing.
I’m from Texas so weather in the teens motivates me to hug a wood stove. But the 27-degree swing from O’Fallon to Forrest City convinced me I was warm as I slid across the Arkansas parking lot.
How you look at a situation can change everything. It is called perspective.
God wants us to have a mature perspective. James writes we should consider our difficulties a joy because they produce perseverance. He writes: “Let perseverance finish its work that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4)
Maturity includes seeing the world with the correct perspective. Here are three ways to gain Godly perspective.
The first thing to know is you aren’t alone. God understood we all need help maturing and provided an answer: The local church.
In Ephesians it reads: “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13)
Jesus instituted the church, in part, to help you gain perspective! I know in my church you can’t turn a corner without tripping over someone wanting to be helpful. Just go and join the fun.
But you have to overcome the fear of asking for help. There is no reason for concern because those in leadership have been through their own trials. That’s how they earned their maturity.
Attending church is a great start, but you need energy to reach the maturity and perspective God desires.
That’s where Bible study comes in. Power your growth in Jesus by listening to the preachers and teachers and digging in to read for yourself.
The author of Romans writes: “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” (Romans 10:17)
Learn what the Bible really says — not the mangled takes some believe — to fuel your growth, leading to a mature perspective on life.
Imagine owning a pristine sports car but never taking it out of the garage. That would be a waste, wouldn’t it?
Same thing with your faith. It won’t do much unless you take it for a spin.
James writes: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” (James 1:22-24)
You don’t want to forget yourself, so get out and use what you’ve learned in church and in your Bible study.
Plug in, power up and switch on — three steps to achieve the Christian maturity that will help you gain perspective.
And perspective can change everything. It can even help you find the silver lining in a frozen gas pump.