I’m currently in the city of Torrance. In about three hours I’ll be addressing a group of about 40 high school students at a church on the topic of “having a spiritual perspective.”
My message is based on the book of Philippians, chapter 4, verses 1-9. The bulk of what I’ll be saying comes from the idea of keeping our eyes focused on the eternal things, on Jesus Christ and the prize that awaits us in heaven. When we attain this spiritual perspective, we will be able to handle various hardships and trials that might come our way. We will be able to keep calm, be thankful, and remain content because our joy is not based on the circumstances around us but on the good and loving God who doesn’t change.
It is always interesting when I prepare for messages or sermons because God often times teaches me the lesson beforehand. I would learn the reality of my message through challenges during the week, and they would humble and sometimes even humiliate me. But it is a necessary journey because God wants me to be real (honest) with what I’m speaking.
This week was no different. I found myself worrying, a lot. What’s store for my future? Where is God leading me? Where’s my next paycheck coming from? By nature I don’t take or handle stress well. And then I read Phil. 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” It’s like God slapped me, and said, “Duh! Talk to me about your issues, tell me what’s on your mind, and count your blessings!”
I would have great reason to worry if I were living life on my own power, for my own purposes. But God loves me and is looking out for me; I don’t need to freak out. He reminds me that certain trials are necessary in my life because they will sharpen me for more noble use in the future. He uses suffering to prepare me for heaven.
That is what it means to have a spiritual perspective.