The Heavenly Perspective (Part 1)
Today and tomorrow we are going to continue to reflect upon Paul's wonderful attitude as we consider Philippians 1:19-30. Paul had a wonderful perspective on life, and I hope to convince you that his attitude is worthy of our adoption. Paul had the heavenly perspective. Unfortunately, most people do not have this viewpoint. Most are very shortsighted really, being only able to see what is directly in front of them. You might say that the vast majority of all people on this planet have the earthly perspective. Their focus is upon physical matters and they judge the "rightness" or "wrongness" of situations based upon how it feels to them at the moment. If a situation is unpleasant, then they judge it to be bad or wrong. But, if the circumstances are pleasant to them, then they consider such to be good or right.

Now, what exactly is the heavenly perspective? In a nutshell, it is the opposite of the earthly perspective. When Christians are living as they should, they will have the heavenly perspective. They won't determine what is right and wrong based upon their feelings but upon the unchanging standard of God's word. Their focus will not be upon the pleasures and things of this life but upon the glory that is waiting for them and all the faithful in heaven. By faith a Christian with the heavenly perspective will courageously allow the Lord to define what he ought to say and do. He will not rely upon his own fallible vision (cf. II Cor. 5:6-8). Those with the heavenly perspective are equipped with knowledge and promises from God. They exercise diligence, virtue, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (cf. II Peter 1:3-11). Their focus and attention is riveted upon spiritual matters.

Paul is a great example of one who had the heavenly perspective. His focus was not upon matters of the flesh, but upon spiritual matters. He wasn't concerned about his own pleasure or human desires; he was focused upon what God had for him to do. His perspective was this: no matter what he had to suffer and endure here on Earth, he would do so in order to enjoy eternal life with the Lord someday. His heavenly hope was more important than anything else in this realm! May we learn to adopt this same attitude and perspective that the apostle Paul possessed. May we come to truly realize the brevity of physical life and, consequently, the importance of living faithfully before God no matter what the cost!

If we have the heavenly perspective, then we too will be able to rejoice in persecution like Paul did. Although he was in prison, we have previously noted that he was full of joy for several reasons: (1) because of the opportunity he had to teach the palace guard (Phil. 1:13), (2) because of the fact that his example gave others confidence to speak the word of God boldly and without fear (Phil. 1:14), and (3) because he was pleased to know that Christ was being preached more by others because of his imprisonment than He would have been preached otherwise (Phil. 1:18). Paul was able to look for the good in the bad. There was always something to rejoice about, even in difficult, trying circumstances.

Think about it this way: consider an open meadow as your life. Often the sun shines in the meadow, but sometimes it rains. Sometimes it's windy and at other times it is calm. There are certainly many beautiful flowers to be seen in an open meadow. Of course, because of the wildlife that lives there, there is probably--at any given time--some animal that has died and is decaying. If your life is that open meadow, what are you going to be looking for? What will your perspective be? Will your attitude be like a humming bird or a buzzard? If you have the perspective of a humming bird, then you will be looking for the sweet nectar of beautiful flowers, and that is what you will find in your life. But, if you have the perspective of a buzzard, then you will be looking for rotting flesh, and that is what you will find in your life. Friends, no one has a perfect life, and we will find whatever we are looking for. Let us choose to be positive and optimistic. Let us learn to have the heavenly perspective. May we always realize that the troubles of this life are only temporary, but faithful living for the Lord will result in life with Him forevermore!

We will finish studying Philippians 1 in our feature lesson tomorrow.