I love to take a spiritual picture of what I see in the natural realm. Today I am looking at photography through a holy lens. Over one shoulder, I am carrying a camera bag containing a camera that uses film. In my pocket, I have my smart phone with a digital camera. I will use both types of cameras to develop my spiritual photograph.
When I use my older camera, it takes time for me to get the picture I want to photograph into focus. I have to adjust the camera lens. If I do not do this, my photo will most likely be blurry. For myself spiritually, I want to allow God’s hand to make necessary adjustments in my character so that I reflect a clear image of the Lord. I will make it a priority each day to focus upon God’s Word and His promises.
Before taking a photo, I must decide what kind of a picture I want to take. Do I want a closeup of one person or do I want a group shot of many people? Do I need a telescopic lens or a wide-angled lens on my camera? The telescopic lens allows me to focus upon one person with the capability of enlarging the image of that individual. This is something to consider from a spiritual perspective as well. If I use a telescopic, or myopic, lens, I see only how a situation affects me. With a telescopic lens, I may be focusing too much upon myself and allowing the situation to become a bigger deal than it is in reality. If I attach a wide-angled lens to my brain, I may be able to perceive how my circumstances affect others as well as me. I tend to use the myopic lens and think only of myself while God sees a bigger picture regarding how my present situation affects many people over a greater time period. I recently read an article that pointed out that the word “lie” is found in the middle of the word “believe” – beLIEve. If I use a wide-angled lens, I will have the faith to believe what God has promised rather than focusing upon the lie of the enemy. The conclusion of John 8:44 says, “he (satan) is a liar and the father of lies.” Opposite of this, Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”
If I am using my smart phone camera and want to print a copy of the picture, I can click a few keys and download a digital image that can be printed. It is quick! However, this photograph may not be as good of quality as one taken with a camera with film that has to be developed. In fact, the digital picture may turn out to be so dark that the only thing to be done with it is to delete it. From the spiritual perspective, I can say that some thoughts are so dark and distorted that they need to be deleted as well. In John 8:12, Jesus says that He is the Light of the World. Adding Jesus to the picture can produce clear thinking.
In contrast to the digital image of a smart phone, a photo taken with film involves a negative that must be developed to produce a picture. Especially evident on a black and white negative is the fact that the dark and light images are reversed on the negative. It is only after the actual picture is printed that the image is a true reflection of what was captured on film. Negative pictures remind me of negative thoughts and happenings. In Revelation 12:10, satan is described as the accuser of our brethren. His accusations are not true and almost always negative. In contrast, Jesus says in John 8:31-32, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Jesus offers the positive. II Corinthians 10:4-5 states, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought to captivity to the obedience of Christ.” Even in the spiritual realm, negative accusations have to be developed to become a reality. In contrast, there are positives to be divinely developed with God’s help. Romans 8:28-29 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” (my emphasis) God uses all things for good. He can even turn negatives into positives. Instead of allowing negative imaginations to become images, I can let God turn these imaginations into positive images of Christ. I must cast down the false imaginations and focus on the images of the reality. Graham Cooke has said, “You can’t have a negative in your life without the opposite also being there.” Cooke goes on to say that when we are hit with a negative thought or feeling, we are to ask the Holy Spirit what the opposite is. Then he encourages us to dwell on the positive that is revealed. Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart, Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” I do not want to settle for the negative – I want to have the picture developed into a positive reality.
Both natural and supernatural photography take time. They are not just aim and shoot actions if the best results are desired. It takes time to develop a picture taken with a camera if we choose to not just print the first image seen on the screen of a smart phone. It also involves a process for God to work the negatives of our lives into positives for His glory. The story of Joseph in Genesis is a good example. I think of all the negatives Joseph encountered because of his brothers’ actions. However, by the time we read Genesis 50:20 Joseph says, “You intended to harm me (negative), but God intended it for good (positive) to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Max Lucado makes the comment in Cast of Characters – Common People in the Hands of an Uncommon God that forgiveness becomes easier with a wide-angled lens. Joseph refused to focus on the betrayal of his brothers without also seeing the loyalty of his God. The Lord desires to divinely develop a similar type of spiritual photography in all of our lives. Our first imagination may be negative, but God can divinely develop an image with a positive outcome.