Recently I saw a quote posted on facebook my by friend Mike Richardson from Dr. Wayne Dyer. It’s been on my mind ever since I wrote it down. It was simple. Succinct. But very profound.
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
This axiom speaks to the issue of perspective. Point of view. And one’s mental frame of reference. It has to do with our focus in life. It reveals one’s attitude, whether positive or negative.
When we change our thinking, our feelings follow suit. Our approach to the circumstances and challenges of life change. Our actions then lead to a different result. However, two people can look at the same thing. One sees a problem. The other sees an opportunity.
There’s a great Bible example in the narrative from 1 Samuel 17. It’s the account of Israel’s on going conflict with the Philistines. This time they are taunted by a giant named Goliath, who challenged any of their men to a winner take all fight. Daily Goliath mocked Israel with these words: “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.”
The Bible describes Goliath as a mountain of a man. He was huge. He was a warrior. He was a champion. And as a result, King Saul and the armies of Israel “were dismayed and greatly afraid.”
But along comes young David. A mere lad. A shepherd boy. When he learns the King will reward the man who defeats Goliath with riches, exemption from taxes and the King’s daughter in marriage, David said: “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”
Saul tried to discourage David. He said, “You are only a boy, and (Goliath) has been a fighting man from his youth.” Yet, David, through the eye of faith, didn’t see it that way. He had killed both a lion and a bear in protecting his father’s sheep. Then David confidently affirmed, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
Every child knows the rest of the story and has sung the song Just a little boy David. “Five little stones he took.” But he only needed one. Goliath was felled with a single shot from David’s sling.
What a difference in perspective between Saul’s army and young David. They saw a huge obstacle. They envisioned defeat. They felt afraid. And they were paralyzed from acting.
David, on the other hand, looked at Goliath as an opportunity. He focused on his faith in God’s protection. He quelled fears with courage. And, don’t miss the fact that David was also motivated by the reward. Three times in the text David asked what the King would do for the man who killed Goliath. David didn’t look at the problem. David saw an opportunity.
Someone once quipped that Israel looked at Goliath and saw someone so big they couldn’t beat him. But David saw someone so big he couldn’t miss him!
What Goliaths are tormenting you? What obstacles are you facing in your life? What challenges are you dealing with? What cares are pressing you down? What decisions are weighing heavily on your mind? What burdens are you bearing?
Your success or failure in dealing with your circumstances will depend greatly on how you look at them.
What do you see?
Are you fearfully focused on Goliath? Or are you faithfully seeing the reward offered by the Lord?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman