in the world, not of it

I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how a man could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.

attributed to Abraham Lincoln

17,500 miles per hour. That’s about how fast the International Space Station moves in its orbit around our planet. That means that it makes a complete orbit every 90 minutes. And in case you needed a clue…that is FAST.

I often tell people that my favorite thing in nature is the horizon. You can never quite reach it but it already knows the secrets of tomorrow. It’s another one of God’s promises revealed in his grandeur. But in space, there is no horizon. So, when I found this quote that you see above, it kinda makes you stop and think. (Also, who knows if Honest Abe actually said that, but for today….we’re just gonna go with it.)

Those astronauts that live in the International Space Station (ISS) look down upon Earth every day, seeing the sun rise and set over our surface multiple times a day. They see hurricanes and wildfires. They can measure environmental changes such as ocean levels or volcanic eruptions, or even watch our night-lights light up as the shadow crosses each time zone.

It seems way more peaceful up there than it does down here. Almost like it takes a new height to reach a new perspective about life down below.

Then that leads me to wonder… what does God see from the heavens?

Because if I were God, I’d feel like I failed a lot. It’s very easy to just read the political, environmental, and world health headlines and feel like we’re losing our grip on how to live amongst each other. Not to mention our cultural obsessions. I imagine God turning to an angel and saying, “Do you know what they could accomplish if they just. switched. their. perspectives?”

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Romans 12:1-2 MSG

I’m sure you’ve heard the popular Christian phrase, “Live in the world, don’t be of it.” To be of the world, you are absorbed with everything about it. You’re the one focusing on matching the culture because it’ll make you fit in – maybe giving you a community that feels comfortable, even if it’s unhealthy.

Living in the world is necessary because…well…we were born into it and didn’t have a choice, but this is where we live life. And not just any life – one that we are called to live for Jesus. We have a mission to love people deeply and purposefully, so we shouldn’t take for granted our perspective.

Perspective is a tool that determines your direction.

Orbiting 200+ miles above Earth’s surface is – I’m sure – a little inconvenient. There’s no Target or Starbucks or froyo – definitely no Amazon Prime! There’s nothing hyper-cultural to distract them from their mission. Their perspective has changed their direction in life, changing history in the process.

We may not get the chance to see Earth from above in this life (c’mon Elon Musk!), but switching our perspective to live in the world for just a little while will help us appreciate the view from above when we’ve joined the Lord in heaven.

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