1 Peter 4:12 (NIV): “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”
A single verse has set my mind running. It has also prompted me to consider the differences between Prospective versus Perspective.
Prospective, defined as: “Likely to happen at a future date; concerned with or applying to the future.”
Perspective, defined as: “A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a standpoint.”
That one verse, 1 Peter 4:12, is found in my New International Version Bible under the header “Suffering for being a Christian.”
That quickened to my mind Romans 5:7: “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.”
What’s the difference between a righteous person and a good person?
I couldn’t help it, I had to break out my Parallel Bible to check out a variety of translations.
I thought the “New Living Translation” (NLT) said it the clearest. “Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good.”
This is definitely a touchy time to be talking about dying and laying down your life. My goal is to tread softly while still bringing it to mind.
In the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel, Chapter 17 there’s the account of David and Goliath. For this article I’ll just highlight a few verses.
Verse 14: “David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.”
Now look at Verse 26b: “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the Living God?” Followed by Verse 45: “David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.”
Verse 50: “So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.”
Generally, when I read something about David and Goliath it tends to present David as an underdog defeating a giant.
I have to stop and wonder. Did David see himself as an underdog?
After all, he single-handedly accepted Goliath’s challenge without weapons and without his brothers or other soldiers. That doesn’t sound like the decisions of someone who thought they were an underdog.
A friend shared with me the other day one of those memes you find posted on Facebook. It was rather timely as well as pointed. King Saul thought Goliath was too big to fight. David thought he was too big to miss.
The whole reason David fought Goliath was because Saul was afraid to confront him. But David, a shepherd boy, accepted the challenge and faced Goliath.
I can’t help but think that David’s perspective — how he saw the situation not as victim or underdog — was in full confidence in the name of the Lord Almighty.
He told the giant Goliath that he hadn’t “come with sword and spear, but in the name of the Living God.”
His perspective was also his prospective. There’s a New Testament verse that helps me see this perspective. Romans 8:31: “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us who can be against us?”
Our island community, state and nation are caught in the winds of change. And we all know the one constant in life is change.
So perhaps now is a good time to check our own perspective and prospective — our standing point for the future.
1 Timothy 4:8 says, “For physical training is of some value. But godliness has value for all things holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”