Paradigm Shift: Priority, Perspective

1 John 2:15 – Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.

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The love of God causes many things in our lives to go topsy-turvy. We must now humble ourselves to be promoted, and serve others rather than exalting ourselves, and pray about everything and surrender rather than worrying about anything.

It also reverses our priorities as well as shifts our perspective. In the world, it is our nature to cling to the material while we shove everyone else out of the way.  We label anything that offers us something we want as a good thing, and anyone who speaks against what we want as an enemy not to be trusted.

Matthew 5:43-44 – “You’ve heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say, love your enemies!

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If someone offends us, instinct says to turn that offense right back at them, to aim our irritation and our hatred at them. That’s the easy way to deal with misunderstanding or hurt–BOOM!–And now it’s their problem. Unfortunately, that method is far more destructive.

Ephesians 6:12 – For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6 tells us that we no longer fight against enemies that are tangible, but rather against the agents of unseen worlds. Upon our entry into the Kingdom, we have been equipped with a new lens to perceive the natural world through. This lens gives us a glimpse into the depths of the unseen. The glaring offenses of others we used to remember and regurgitate as justifications for our judgment are now revealed to be symptoms of heart conditions.

Once, we defined a person’s character by their actions. Now, we define their actions by their character.  We are empowered with the ability to recognize behaviors as symptoms to root causes and other spirits at work. And rather than attack the person, we now do not hold them accountable for their reactions. For what do sinners do but sin? Would you really hold a new believer fresh off the streets accountable to the same level as one who has been walking with Christ for years or decades?
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Granted, there are varying levels of responsibility for our own actions that we’ll all have to answer for eventually–but that is not for us to decide for other people. Now that we have been made new in Christ Jesus, we have no place, no right at all to point the finger and judge. We have been given a new protocol entirely for how to respond to offense.

Now, say that this person who offended  you is your friend, with whom you share a bond of mutual trust. Then you may address the symptom, speaking the truth in love.

The best way to model this type of confrontation is to imitate how the Holy Spirit brings conviction: gently, tenderly but firmly saying, “You’re way too good to be acting like that.”

Galatians 4:9 – So now that you know God (Or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world?

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I find that the most effective rebuke of a person is to remind them of who they are. If a king walking among pigs forgets he is a king and begins to walk on his hands and knees with his nose in the mud, you probably would not be very successful in getting him to return to his throne if you said, “You pig! Stop it!” All that does is further infuse a false identity.

Ephesians 4:15 – Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will come to be in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. 

Speaking the truth in love allows for both of you to achieve greater heights. By speaking in love rather than just loving to speak the truth, you allow yourself to become vulnerable. You communicate to the other person that you really are concerned for them and not being driven by reaction to offense. Rather than superimposing your standpoint, it’s like you join them at the level they’re at, humbling yourself without lowering your standards, and invite them to come back up to the surface with you.

When we are transplanted from earth reality to Kingdom reality, our perception of value changes drastically. Things that seemed so important before–money, time, gas prices–pale by comparison to a human heart. We would gladly lay our lives down for one another just because of how valuable they are.
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Make no mistake, the things I have spoken of in this post–taking the high road, looking at things from God’s perspective, reversing our priorities and choosing humility over retaliation–these are nothing short of humanly impossible. How, then, are we to accomplish all this, especially if we have been explicitly instructed to do so in the Scriptures? The same way we got into the Kingdom in the first place–simply, beautifully, humiliatingly not on our own strength. Ultimately, it continues with where it started: grace. Encountering Him, on our knees, blindingly aware of our own insufficiency.

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 – But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you; My power is made perfect in weakness.

Psalm 121:2 – My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth!

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