But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. Deuteronomy 4:29
O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1
As a huge sports fan, there is nothing better than arguing with friends (and sometimes strangers) about random sports topics. Who is the greatest quarterback of all time? Was or wasn't that a catch? Should college players get paid? Does defense indeed win championships? What sport has the best athletes? Could a college team beat a pro team?
To fill the around the clock coverage, sports networks like ESPN thrive on these arguments. Countless hours arguing around the water cooler have taken a toll on workplace productivity. These debates rage on forever and rarely if ever get settled.
Everyone suddenly becomes an "expert" and pleads their case with well-rehearsed facts, points, and insight that would make any high-powered attorney envious. We listen to refute rather than to understand the other point of view. We become so entrenched in our stance that changing our mind is an impossibility.
An unwillingness to take a step back and consider a new way of thinking isn't strictly reserved for something trivial as an "MJ or LeBron" debate. A rigid and stubborn belief system can very well influence our faith, emotions, and perspectives. We recite and throw out "Christianese" words without ever considering the implications they should have on our lives.
We allow our train of thoughts to run wild without paying attention to what track they are leading us down. We get set in our ways. What has been, always will be. We've thought the same thing for years upon years without putting what we believe to the test.
We surround ourselves with people who look like us, think like us, behave like us and believe like us. What's even scarier is when we attempt to use our theology to create and craft a god who would agree with every viewpoint we hold. We are sometimes guilty of creating God in our image.
New things require a new way. We often see what we're looking for, so a fresh perspective is needed. We must put ourselves in situations where there is a shift in what we see. The same holds for our thoughts. It's essential to take inventory of our thoughts - are they based on facts or fed by lies and fear? Rather than dig our feet in, we have to embrace curiosity, welcome pursuit, and look for ways to understand rather than be understood.
This involves less talking and more listening, asking questions with humility as well as journaling and praying our hearts out. It entails walking a mile in someone else's shoes, considering their perspective and hearing their story. Rather than a debate, pursue a dialogue.
Each one of us must allow our faith to be stretched by exploring what we believe. By placing ourselves in environments where we'll be tested, we provide ourselves with opportunities for our faith, and what we truly believe, to rise to the surface. And finally, we should ask God to reintroduce Himself to us so we can see Him with fresh eyes. There is no argument about it - this is a prayer God always answers.
How can you see a situation you are facing with fresh eyes?
What are tangible steps you can take to place yourself in an environment where your faith, perspective, and viewpoint will be challenged?
God, often I try to put You in a box that's easy for me to understand and control. But, my ways are not Your ways. Your wisdom is too great for me to understand. Open my eyes so I can see You from a fresh perspective. Give me new glimpses into Your heart, character, and faithfulness. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.