Have you ever thought one thing and then heard or saw something that changed your perspective, which changed your mind about what you believed was true? Or have you ever been stressed out about something or someone, like thinking a person didn’t like you but later finding out she thought you didn’t like her?
In the letter to the church at Philippi, Paul encouraged two women who were at odds with each other to make peace, and he told the rest of the people to help them. Then he gave further instructions, including the power of positive thinking, that would help keep the peace of God among them.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” —Philippians 4:8
“Anger so clouds the mind that it cannot perceive the truth.” —Latin proverb
Sometimes things are, indeed, as they appear or as we’ve been told, but sometimes they are not. Sometimes in order to know what’s true, we have to be willing to see things from another vantage point. A couple of weeks ago, my second son told me about a short, amazing T-Rex illusion video that demonstrates the principle of perspective perfectly. It is very cool!
Even after seeing the T-Rex as it truly is, it is nearly impossible to avoid seeing the optical illusion when the perspective keeps changing. Life is constantly changing and in the same way, its changing circumstances can cause us to forget what is true, and we can start believing a lie. Or sometimes because we trust our own perception or what seems to be true, we refuse to see things any other way and remain stuck in an illusion.
“It was an illusion, but to the perception, it was as powerful as reality.” —Steve Cobb, pastor
Any good life coach will tell you that the first step to transformation is to change your thinking. The Bible gives the same principle. Romans 12:2b says, “…be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” The context has to do with how to test and know what the will of God is—what is good, acceptable and perfect—but the principle of the first step in transformation is there none the less.
“It is not the problem that’s the problem. It is your attitude about the problem.” —Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
“We don’t see things the way they are. We see things the way we are.” —The Talmud
“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” —John Lubbock
“Most people see what they want to, or at least what they expect to.” —Martha Grimes
Here is another video that illustrates the power of both positive and negative thinking. It’s a bit longer, but if you tend to deal with stress, it is well-worth watching.
Edited on January 9, 2014 to add: Please see my additional comment below.
If you liked this post, you might also like: Don’t Panic
January 8th, 2014 at 12:41 am
Rene, that’s what many people think and feel within limited perspective
January 8th, 2014 at 8:35 am
Yes, we all do at one time or another. It can also be difficult to stay positive around negative people. Thank you, Tienny. 🙂
January 8th, 2014 at 12:56 pm
Rene, you are welcome. It is true that is difficult to stay positive around negative embedded people unless those who are strong in The Lord and grounded in His Word
January 8th, 2014 at 11:03 am
I love the proverbs used in this weeks post, especially the one from Captain Jack Sparrow.
It is not the problem that’s the problem. It is your attitude about the problem.” —Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
“We don’t see things the way they are. We see things the way we are.” —The Talmud “What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” —John Lubbock “Most people see what they want to, or at least what they expect to.” —Martha Grimes
I think all of these are true but still fall under the wise counsel of the Greatest Pirate who ever lived (LOL). It is our attitude that shapes our perception. If we have a closed off mind or heart no good and lasting change can take place and if we are open and acceptable to every wind of doctrine we can be deceived into thinking no change is needed. I think for my self it is God’s opinion and how He perceives things that directs my attitude and then shapes my perception. As an individual God shapes each person differently according to that persons measure of faith and obedience. Anyway great post and videos. 🙂
January 8th, 2014 at 5:50 pm
The ‘Greatest Pirate’? Please explain.
Yes, although I sometimes fail to consider God’s opinion and how He perceives things, His mercy and love motivate me to think about how He might perceive things and then act accordingly. I wish I did all the time, but I confess, I don’t, which makes His love and grace all the more amazing.
Thank you, Randell. 🙂
January 8th, 2014 at 6:01 pm
Captain Jack Sparrow is completely without principle and devoid of morals , but he is inspiring to his men and always upbeat and motivated. When told he was the worst pirate they had ever heard of he replied yes but you have heard of me. When surrounded by twenty plus guns he announced as he made his escape – you will always remember this as the day you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow LOL 🙂
January 8th, 2014 at 6:03 pm
LOL…. I definitely must watch it someday. Thank you, Randell for clearing that up. 😀
January 8th, 2014 at 3:34 pm
Leave it to you to find wisdom from Jack Sparrow:-) That is a great quote – I’m going to copy it and text it to my 21 year old daughter who is having a problem at work right now:-)
Great post and picture!
January 8th, 2014 at 5:57 pm
[chuckle] Wanna know something? Besides seeing a few short clips, I’ve never actually seen any of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies in their entirety. I understand the first one is the best, so that one is on my list. Thank you, Bill! 😀
January 9th, 2014 at 10:22 am
I need to add something after hearing part of a radio program last night while waiting in the car for my son. The program mentioned religious teachings that focus on the power of the mind that give a sense of being god-like within ourselves and having the power to control every aspect of our lives just by thinking positive thoughts. The program mentioned people who teach that merely speaking to your wallet to become fat will make you financially successful. Although there is power in positive thinking, to think that you can speak money into your wallet is going beyond and twisting the truth. Unfortunately, Christians who are fundamentalists or lean that way, in order to avoid any association with what is falsely taught, we often throw the baby out with the bath water and neglect the subject altogether. There is a certain level of power in positive thinking, because it is a Godly, Biblical principle, but the motivation is not to become like a god, but to become Christ-like that He might be glorified and that we might be a blessing so that others will be blessed, too. Thank you for reading.
January 9th, 2014 at 11:16 pm
Perception is not reality – ask Eve.
January 10th, 2014 at 12:37 pm
That is an excellent point! She thought she knew what the future would look like but could not perceive the actual outcome. I have done that myself, sometimes without thinking things through but merely reacting, but sometimes even after having thought things through but from my own perspective. Thank you, Scott! 😀
January 10th, 2014 at 2:42 am
Cool T. Rex video!
January 10th, 2014 at 12:38 pm
It is cool, isn’t it? 😀