“Mine.” has to be one of the first things that most children learn to say. Eventually, the say this word repeatedly, often at significant volume as they demand what they want. Even when we are past the age where we incessantly say it, we often still act like the petulant toddler who wants what hasn’t been given to them. “Mine” we think to ourselves as we pursue the things that our heart desires.
Our demanding and covetous nature isn’t limited to just things. We often respond to people in that way as well. Perhaps it’s because I work at a college and volunteer in a college ministry, but I see this a lot. We’ve decided that there’s someone who might be a good “fit” for us, and much like the child articulates their desires, we do the same with God. We tell Him that we want that person to be ours, and ask Him to make it so.
The problem of course is that the person is a person – someone who has been created in the image of God. And by viewing them as something to possess we belittle their very worth. We say that they are the object of our affection and then treat them as such – an object – something to have, not someone loved by God. Instead of treating them as someone who God has carefully designed and who He has an intentional plan for, we treat them as something that is used for our good, something that was created for the benefit of us.
It’s a hard mindset to break. It permeates our culture, our entertainment and our conversations. Yet, there is a least one way that we can start viewing the person we’re fond of in a manner that’s more honoring of God and that is to pray for them. Not praying for them in terms of how it benefits ourselves, but praying for them in terms of God’s own design for their life. Specifically, pray for their future spouse. If there’s one surefire way to stop seeing someone as a means to our own end, it’s to realize – and pray intentionally for – the person that God has created for them. They become then, not an object of our affection, but a creation of our Living God.
While this is a great practice for potential romantic relationships, it doesn’t apply only to them. Whenever we are tempted to see someone as a stumbling block to getting what we want, or a means through which our desires can be met, we need to view them from Heaven’s perspective. We need to see them with the love of our Father, not the immaturity of a child. We need to seek their good, not how they may benefit us.
The less we say “mine” and the more we pray “Yours,” the more our hearts, and our affections, will be aligned with our King’s.
Share your thoughts…what have you found helpful in seeing people from God’s perspective?