WHAT DO YOU SEE?

by | Jun 25, 2024 | Guest Writers

By Ross Winchester
 
Habakkuk 1:5 “Look at the nations and watch and be utterly amazed for I am going to do something in your days you would not believe even if you were told.”  
 

This scripture had an immediate fulfillment, but I believe there is an application for us today. I believe God is saying the very same thing to us: to look at the nations and watch. God said, “Be utterly amazed.” This was not a suggestion; it was a command. “Look and see what I’m doing in the nations and be amazed.” Get it into your spirit, the amazing work that God is doing now. Many people, as they look at the nations, all they can see is chaos and trouble. It’s certainly easy to lean that way. It’s easy to see the horrible stuff that’s happening all through the world. But we need to look at what God is doing even in the midst of that. We need to be positive and full of faith, not fearful or anxious. Yet there are so many Christians that can only see the negative, the chaos, and they become full of judgment and hate. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” So if God did not send his son into the world to condemn it, I doubt that he sent you and me. He sent us into the world to be salt and light and to be conduits of His love, joy, and peace in a world that so desperately needs hope.

 
Look and Watch

In Habakkuk 1:5 there are two keywords, look and watch. “Look at the Nations and watch.” In the English language, we use these words somewhat interchangeably. In Hebrew, they are used more specifically. To look means to see the macro, the big picture. See what God is doing in the nations. To watch is the micro view. It is more intentional. What is God saying to me about this situation, this nation, this ministry?

An experience I had recently will serve to illustrate the difference between these two words. My wife Donna and I live in Northern Thailand. We had been visiting a village that comprising six different minority groups, Long Neck Kayan, Kayaw, Kayah, Akha, Lisu, and Karen. They each have their mutually unintelligible language, culture, and customs. While we were talking to a Kayan lady and her daughter, I was thinking big picture, about strategies of how we could reach these people for Christ. Donna nudged me and asked if I had noticed the daughter’s shoes. When I looked, I saw that they were torn and worn out and just hanging off her feet. I had watched, but I did not look; therefore, I did not see. We bought new shoes for the young girl, and the next time we visited, we brought new shoes for all the children in the village. If we just look and do not carefully watch, we will not see what God wants us to see, and we will miss opportunities to be a blessing.

What you see determines how you think. How you think determines how you act. How you act determines your behaviour. How you behave determines your habits. Your habits determine your character, and your character determines your destiny. The question is do we see with the eyes of faith or through natural eyes? Some people can see an opportunity in every problem, other people see a problem in every opportunity Albert Einstein said, “Stay away from negative people, they have a problem for every Solution.

How Do You See Yourself? Grasshopper or Giant-Killer?


A classic example of how you see yourself is in the Book of Numbers Chapter 13, where Moses told the Hebrews to select a representative from each tribe of Israel to go into the land of Canaan and bring back a report. Ten spies said, “We can’t beat them, they are giants. They live in fortified cities with impregnable walls.” What was their problem? It started with how they saw the situation, but a bigger problem was how they saw themselves in the situation. Numbers 13:33 illustrates this. They said, “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes and we looked the same to them.” They were defeated in their mind. How you see yourself is how other people will see you. If you see yourself as a victim, people will treat you like a victim. If you see yourself as weak and inferior, and can’t do anything, that’s how people are going to see you, and that’s how they’re going to treat you.

These are strongholds in our minds that we need to break. The Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:4 “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Seeing From God’s Perspective

The battle is not up there in the clouds; the spiritual warfare is not out there, it’s in our minds and hearts. It starts with a thought and that’s why we need to bring every thought and make it obedient to Christ. We need to see things from His perspective. The other two spies, Joshua and Caleb, said, “It’s a good land. We can take it. These people are like bread for us. We can have them for breakfast, and God is going to give us this land.” Now, the interesting thing is that these 12 Spies all looked at the same thing, whether it was Joshua and Caleb or the other ten. They looked at the same thing, but they saw something different. Two saw what God saw. Ten saw with natural eyes. Ten saw the problem. Two saw the promise. So whether they said we can’t do it or we can do it, they were correct. What you see and what you say, is lived out creating your reality. The question is, do you see yourself as a grasshopper or a giant-killer?

Where You Stand Determines What You See?

Last year, I went with a Thai pastor for a motorbike ride up to the northwest of Chiang Mai Province towards the Golden Triangle. As we were riding through the valleys and through the plains, it was beautiful; quaint villages, rice fields, and water buffalos. Then, we started to ride up to the summit of a high mountain. When we reached the top, the view was breathtaking. We could see the valley, the rivers and lakes, the mountains in the distant horizon. It taught me a valuable lesson. Where you stand determines what you see, and more than that, where you stand determines how far you can see. C.S. Lewis said, “What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.” I want to see things the way God sees them. I want to see from God’s perspective. Paul tells us in Colossians 3:1,2 (MSG), “So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.

When Donna and I relocated from China to Chiang Mai, our vision was to work with the Northern Thai churches in leadership development, and we are continuing to do that. But God opened my eyes to see something else that was not on my radar, not what I was equipped for, and not what I was prepared for. The opportunity was just across the border into Myanmar, formerly called Burma, and with the Karen people particularly. When I heard of their plight, being bombed by the Myanmar air force, fired upon by ground troops, their fields burned, the common occurrence of rape, torture, and murder, and many of the Karen people forced to flee into the jungle to live, I knew we had to help them. We began to buy rice, dried foods, tarps, clothes, and whatever supplies were needed, and take them to the Karen people. When I crossed the Salawan River, the border between Thailand and Myanmar, my life was irrevocably changed. I was never the same again – because of what I saw. Young Karen boys carrying M16 rifles patrolling the perimeter of the village, looking out for Burmese ground troops. The things I saw and heard – the atrocities committed against these beautiful people, I would not have heard them had I not crossed the river, and it impacted me so much. We must put ourselves in the position to see what God wants us to see.
 
What Do You See?

In Jeremiah chapter 1, God was dealing with Jeremiah concerning his calling. God had called him to be a prophet to the nations. As a young man of just 19 years, he told God he didn’t know how to speak and was too young. After God dealt with his excuses by assuring him that He would be with him, He began to deal with his sight. God had dealt with how Jeremiah saw himself, then He dealt with how he saw the situation around him. 
 
In Jeremiah 1:11, God asks, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” He replied, “I see the branch of an almond tree,” “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it,” God said.

So what does it mean when God says, “You have seen well, or correctly (CSB)”? It means Jeremiah saw what God wanted him to see. He saw correctly. So, if it’s possible to see correctly, it’s also possible to see incorrectly. There are a lot of people who see things incorrectly. It may be very clear in their mind, and that becomes their reality, but it’s an incorrect and false reality if they’re not seeing what God wants them to see.

How do you see yourself? Are you like Jeremiah who saw himself as too young? Maybe you feel you are too old, not enough of this or that? Failure, inferior, loser, inadequate, unqualified? Or do you see yourself as someone who is of so much value that God sent His only son to die for you and has an incredible purpose for your life? Now, the devil will obviously tell you otherwise, and that’s his job. It’s in his job-description; to kill, steal, and destroy. Kill your faith, steal your joy, and destroy your future. To accuse you day and night, to heap condemnation upon you unceasingly. Why would the devil do that? Because he knows you are a threat. That’s why he’s attacking you so hard. A thief doesn’t break into an empty house. He breaks into something where he can find something valuable. He wants to destroy that purpose that God has placed upon your life. The devil doesn’t fight fair, but don’t get mad at him. Get even! How do we do that? We stand on God’s promises, and we declare his truth. Then, when the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.

Open Our Eyes Lord

In 2 Kings 6:15-17, Elisha’s servant looked out the window and saw the entire Syrian army. He ran to see the man of God and told him they were doomed. He asked, “What shall we do?” The prophet tells him, “Don’t Be afraid; those who are with us are more  than those who are with them.” The servant couldn’t understand this. All he saw was Elisha and himself. How can we be more than the thousands of Syrian soldiers? So Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes Lord that he might see.” He could see, but he only saw the enemy. He couldn’t see the chariots of fire and the army of the Lord. He could see the problem, but he couldn’t see the answer. He could see the difficulty, but he couldn’t see the solution. He could see the obstacle but not the opportunity. We can easily be like this servant. We can see the absence, but we can’t see the abundance. We can see the health issue, but we can’t see the healer. We can see the cancer, but we can’t see the cure.

Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked, and he saw the hills full of horses and Chariots of Fire all around Elisha.

Helen Keller said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”

What do you see when you look at the situation around you? Do you see from God’s perspective? Paul prays in Ephesians 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.

Paul prayed for the Ephesian church, and, by extension, prayed for us, that God would open our spiritual eyes so that we may see His great power, our inheritance, and our hope. Let us continue to look, watch, and see what God wants us to see.

8 Comments

  1. What a great read! Thank you for writing this article.

    Reply
    • Thank you!

      Reply
  2. What an excellent, faith-building read. Thank you, Ross!

    Reply
    • Thanks Doug

      Reply
  3. Thank you Ross for sharing.
    May God give you the wisdom, ability, and resources needed for the Karen people.

    Reply
    • Thanks Norm

      Reply
  4. Thank you for sharing wisdom and incorporating tidbits of Thailand. I feel like I’m on an adventure, even as I read. Pondering Colossians 3:1,2, as you noted with The Message translation, also helped me continue in the adventure mindset. Near the end of this devotion, I suddenly saw the business cashflow ‘forecast’ spreadsheet I’ve been working on in a new light. The forecast helps me make business decisions based on what can happen over the next year, with a healthy dose of reality input from past business income. I’m looking at it now, with fresh perspectives. Am I about to conquer giants, am I seeing how God sees my efforts, or am I going to stay in the wilderness? …I’ll let you know in a year!

    Reply
    • God bless you, Clayton, as you conquer giants! May this be your best year yet?

      Reply

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