“Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”Romans 12.1-2 (HCSB)
A person surrounded by miles of green and earth tone forests of fir, pine, and spruce divided by the meandering Ohanapecosh, Cowlitz, and North Fork rivers understands the phrase “in the middle of nowhere.” The wide-open space envelopes you. In the expanse of evergreen, you realize your smallness. Growing up and experiencing life in the middle of nowhere can implant a unique perspective, especially in a young child.
What do people mean when they state they have a different perspective about a topic or place? Sometimes people will say: “Well, that’s your perspective,” or “I don’t share your views on a subject or even about God.” A person’s perspective is an attitude toward something, a point of view. For instance, if they say, “They don’t share your perspective.” To what point of view or perspective are they referring? Isn’t it more than just an attitude about something?
You could have a political point of view that another person may or may not share. You also may have an opinion about the best way to fish for salmon in the Cowlitz River, fell timber, or appropriately dress an elk. Your perspective can be innocuous, such as how to bar-b-que, or extremely dangerous, like the proper way to set chokers or how best to swim, unaided, across the North Fork of the Toutle River’s white waters. It’s more than this.
When a person states, they have a perspective about God or Christ. They claim they have a different interpretation of life or a view of the world through a particular lens—a worldview. It is the lens through which we gauge and evaluate life events (large or small). It’s the effect of our “middle of nowhere” experiences. And at the very heart, what we hold dear, our values, what we treasure, worship, and our view of people, the planet, and ultimately, God—his nature, character, and existence.
What do you hold onto tightly? Now, look inwardly to the place only you can see. What do you honestly believe about God? How does your “nowhere” influence your views? If you have accepted Christ, you are a new creation. (2 Cor. 5:17) You have a new nature, the Spirit now resides in you, and at the very core – your heart, the essence of who you are –has been changed. God changed and is changing your view of the world. (Gal. 5) By conforming you to the image of His Son. (Rom. 5:29-30)
Grab hold of that promise. God has created a new you. (1Pet. 1:3-5) He didn’t just change our perspective or attitudes; He went to the core and radically changed our hearts. The very lens through which we view the world. He has given us His Spirit. (1Jn. 4:13) The old person is gone, and the new person has come. (2Cor. 5:17-20)
It is not about forgetting you grew up in the middle of nowhere. A changed heart does not deny the reality of past events. Facts and past experiences don’t change. We grew up somewhere, even in the middle of nowhere. But God changed and is changing the perspective of our heart, a heart that doesn’t forget what we once were but now knows who we are in Christ. (Jas. 1:23-24)
Now we can appreciate the effect of the expanse of evergreen, earth tones, and white water and the impact of growing up in the middle of nowhere. We see it differently when someone states they don’t share your perspective about God. We realize they don’t see it. Yet.
God is there, even in the middle of nowhere.
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