When we entered the Navy 18 years ago, little did I realize that so much of the journey would require an intentional focus on adjusting my perspective in order to value my circumstances. Moving across the country with four little kids seemed overwhelming; until I had eyes to see the beauty and adventure that expanded beyond the Sierras. Watching my husband head into combat was dreadful; until it brought me into new depths in my relationship with God where I believed in my heart that he is good, loving and trustworthy. Months of deployment separation still stings; but just the thought of the sweet embrace of reuniting brings me to tears of joy. Perspective changes everything.
I’d venture to say that in this COVID season, most of us are not exactly thrilled with our circumstances. It seems like the phrase of the week is, “I’m over it!” I wonder if both the slaves and masters that Paul spoke of in Ephesians 6 were “over it.” Chances are that both groups of people at times had hearts that were focused on their own circumstances and struggled to see the end game; to gain a new perspective. Discovering and maintaining a good attitude in the midst of difficult circumstances requires a change in our focus; a willingness to see life through a new lens. Paul tells us that perspective comes from the attitude of our hearts; knowing who it is that we are serving. Verse 7 reminds us to, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.” The key phrase that is repeated multiple times in this passage is “as to Christ.” This means having one goal; a singleness of heart. When our hearts only have one focus, it changes our perspective.
Later, in Hebrews 12:1-2 Paul says to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus.” The result is a singleness of heart. Paul is not saying that this is easy, in fact, he says to “throw off” what hinders. It is not a matter of gently setting hindrances aside, but rather as Eugene Peterson says, “strip down, start running — and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God — he could put up with anything along the way.” Jesus’ perspective changed everything.
In verse 10 of Ephesians 6, Paul moves from instructing masters and slaves into guidance for spiritual warfare: “Finally be strong in the Lord, and in his mighty power.” What a beautiful conclusion to a difficult challenge. Our perspective may be a matter of choice, but it comes with the knowledge that our strength comes from the Lord.
What circumstance is weighing you down today? Ask God to change your perspective; to give you a heart that is “as to Christ.” Your strength comes from the Lord!
By Lynette Fuson
Women’s Ministry Director
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