A legend from India tells of a mouse who was terrified of cats until a magician agreed to cast a spell and transform him into a cat. That resolved his fear until he met a dog, so the magician turned him into a dog. The mouse-turned cat-turned dog was content until he met a tiger, so once again the magician turned him into what he feared. But when the mouse-turned cat-turned dog-turned tiger came to the magician complaining that he had met a hunter, the magician refused to help. “I will make you into a mouse again, for though you have the body of a tiger, you still have the heart of a mouse.” Attitude is everything.
Once Winston Churchill was sitting on a platform waiting to speak to a large crowd that had gathered to hear him. The chairman of the event leaned over and said, “Isn’t it exciting, Mr. Churchill, that all these people came to hear you speak?” Churchill responded, “It is quite flattering, but whenever I feel this way I always remember that if, instead of making a political speech I was being hanged, the crowd would be twice as big.” While poverty of character is never encouraged, Jesus himself raises the right estimation of one’s self to the highest possible priority. “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3, KJV). Only when I see myself in light of Christ and evaluate myself according to service to humanity, am I able to embrace the heart of God rather than that of a mouse.
Encompassed by angry faces, and bombarded by dissonant voices, how will we ever steer the right course? Only by staying fixed on true north. For the believer that means struggling against all odds to retain Christ as Center. Dallas Willard writes: “A vision of God secures humility. Seeing God for who He is enables us to see ourselves for what we are. This makes us bold, for we see clearly what great good and evil are at issue, and we see that it is not up to us to accomplish it, but up to God–who is more than able. We are delivered from pretending, from being presumptuous about ourselves, and from pushing as if the outcome depended on us. We persist without frustration, and we practice calm and joyful noncompliance with evil of every kind.”
When I reclaim focus on Christ, the things of earth still matter very much, yet they do so only in reference to eternity. This eternal/ temporal dialogue was voiced by Jesus himself when he prayed: “on earth as it is in heaven.” Do not lose sight of Christ’s necessary order—heaven forms the pattern for earth, not vice versa. Pray and seek to know Jesus Christ to a degree and measure you have never before attempted, and you will gain a deeper and more authentic understanding of yourself. When that happens, you will begin to recognize your God-given role in advocating for and pursuing God’s will as a reflection of what it is in Heaven.