I wake each morning to a dim and blurry world, clumsily reach my hand over to the nightstand, and search for my glasses. As I put them on my face, I begin to see clearly a room that at first glance looked like a two-year-old’s scribble.
In a way, we all see the world as if through glasses. Our experiences, background, education, and beliefs craft a unique pair of lenses (not always with the right prescription) through which we perceive the world. These are the glasses that shape our expectations, motivations, hopes, and fears.
A New Lens
Paul prayed that the Ephesians would have the "eyes of their hearts enlightened" (Eph. 1:18). Elisha prayed that the Lord would open the eyes of his servant "that he may see" the spiritual reality of the trial they faced (2 Kings 6:17). In the same way, the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Spirit’s transforming work in our lives give us a new lens for seeing the world. Then we can see the world as it really is: beautiful (as God’s creation) but broken and marred from sin.
J. Mark Betrand writes about this concept in Rethinking Worldview: Learning to Think, Live, and Speak in the World:
To awaken to our true interests, to see our condition in its proper perspective, demands the ability to take a second look. There is spiritual dimension to this: throughout Scripture, blindness and sight are used as signs of unbelief and belief. But at its simplest level, taking a second look requires only a willingness to see things differently, to entertain (at least tentatively) a different interpretation of reality. I say that it requires ‘only’ this, not because it is easy to do, but because the effort is small; what is difficult is recognizing the need to take a second look in the first place.
As Christians, we may "see" the city every day but not truly see it with the eyes of Christ. We need to take the "second look" that Betrand describes.
My Own Second Look: At Our City
This whole idea came into greater focus for me this past year through a program called the Pegasus Fellowship. Pegasus helped me develop a biblical lens to see more clearly how the gospel applies to the places where I work and live.
We learned to ask different sorts of questions about where we are:
- How does this place exhibit God’s good and perfect creation?
- What is broken here because of sin?
- How can/does the gospel bring redemption in this area?
- What does faithfulness look like in this context?
The biblical foundation illuminated in class was sharpened through various experiences - such as touring Downtown Dallas, visiting Baylor Medical Center, engaging with entrepreneurs at the DEC, and serving in West Dallas through ACT.
Through our questions and our actions, we were taking taking a second look to see the city.