My first year of college, I got glasses. It turns out, I didn’t really need them. They didn’t do much for me except perhaps make me appear a bit more intelligent. It didn’t take long for those glasses to make their way to the back of some drawer where they never saw the light of day. They didn’t do what they were supposed to do, namely, change the way I see things.
Paul tells his friends in the Philippian church that there is a set of glasses that really does change the way we see things. The lens of these glasses is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Philippians 1:12-18, he expresses at least six ways that seeing through the lens of the Good News changes our perspective.
Seeing with “Gospel glasses” transforms your vision of neighborhood.
Paul’s new neighborhood was prison, not the best neighborhood. Certainly a neighborhood that gave ample opportunity for complaining, yet because of the Gospel Paul saw it as an opportunity to make a difference.
Seeing with “Gospel glasses” transforms the way you see different people, cultures…
Paul’s new neighbors were Roman guards; most certainly Gentiles of different background, belief system, and outlook. Different, different, different, and yet Paul didn’t see the differences as obstacles but opportunities because of the Gospel.
Seeing with “Gospel glasses” transforms your outlook in trials.
Prison is not most people’s idea of a pleasant experience. It’s a trial. Yet because of the Gospel, Paul could look at his circumstance as having eternal significance. The inconvenience of prison paled in comparison to the fruit of the Gospel springing forth.
Seeing with “Gospel glasses” provides a confidence that is contagious.
Paul’s conviction and confidence in the Gospel not only impacted his “neighborhood,” it influenced other believers who witnessed the transforming power of the Gospel in Paul’s circumstances. Notice that the Gospel didn’t change the circumstances (in this case, the Gospel was the cause of them). The Gospel overcame the circumstances and changed people (Paul, the guard, other believers).
Seeing with “Gospel glasses” supplies priority that frees from pettiness.
The priority of the Gospel determined what was important for Paul. If the Gospel was being rightly proclaimed then other, lesser disagreements, while not ideal, were of little concern. Pettiness takes a back seat to the power of the Gospel.
Seeing with “Gospel glasses” grants depth of joy that withstands the sway of fickle emotion.
It doesn’t take much for our emotions to shift. Circumstances, fatigue, tension, hunger, discomfort. These are just a few of the dynamics that impact our emotional state. But the Gospel gives deep, abiding joy that transcends those things that influence our fickle emotions. The beauty of the Gospel brings real joy.
There is no doubt the Good News changes things. I wonder, will you and I take up “Gospel glasses” and allow Jesus to transform our perspective?