You can listen below or at their website.
This is a guest post by Tom Harper, author of Through Colored Glasses: How Great Leaders Reveal Reality. You can find more of his work at Biblical Leadership.
If you’ve ever taken a personality test, you’ve confirmed you have certain skills, traits, tendencies, ways of working, and eccentricities that make you you.
Those tests, however, only go so deep into who you really are. They can’t determine your hurts, fears, desires or goals; they don’t know what your night was like last night, or the family issue you may be dealing with.
This inner life, where all our thoughts and desires occur, could be called our “first self.” The second self is the one we consciously present to the world (especially in social media), hoping to receive approval. It’s got a little more of a shine to it.
There’s also a third self. We don’t know them very well. In fact, others know this person better than we do.
People see each other through colored glasses. We filter, judge and label each other. Whether I’ve just met you, or have known you for years, I’ve got a biased impression of who you are. But in my mind, the person I perceive may or may not match your first or second selves.
The person I think you are is your third self. But there’s a problem. You can’t control my perception, not even on Facebook! I can’t see what’s in your heart all the time; I don’t know what kind of hurts or desires you may be harboring. I make assumptions about these things.
And that logically leads to another problem – you have a zillion third selves. Almost everyone that knows you has a slightly different perception of who you are. Their own filters and feelings sift your identity in ways outside your power.
People’s mistaken perceptions of each other can be devastating. Recently I overheard some people talking about me, and I have to say I was humbled. But it wasn’t that kind of humility when someone lavishes praise or attention – it was the kind that took me down a notch. It helped me see how some people perceive me, and it wasn’t pretty.
So how can we affect the way people perceive us?
Strategy #1: Develop a multifaceted personality
Though seeing ourselves through other people’s eyes is not easy, seasoned leaders shift and change various aspects of themselves, depending on what followers need or expect. Paul said, “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Cor. 9:22).
This requires us to get in other people’s shoes and look through their colored glasses. When we attain at least some of their perspective, we can better understand their impressions and expectations of us. It helps us see blind spots or areas where we can improve.
Do we change who we are depending on who we’re with? Not at our core. We simply “become all things to all people,” for their benefit. Paul gave up his rights and customs in order to break down barriers. He risked his reputation to save people.
He never changed his beliefs or who he was in Christ, but he became a chameleon whenever he wanted to reach into people’s lives and help them become like him.
Strategy #2: Discipline your vision
Identifying with the pains and joys of others is a learned skill for me. But it is a discipline that has helped me in many interactions with employees, family members and friends.
Jesus saw the world around him through lenses of compassion. He saw into the heart of the demoniac, who just wanted to be free. He saw through the eyes of a promiscuous woman searching for spiritual truth. He saw with the eyes of the sick, the poor, and even the blind.
When we see from other people’s points of view, we find it easier to allow for their occasional bad moods, and to overlook their offenses. We can better serve them. We feel more compassion for them.
Adjusting our vision to look past people’s faults and offenses isn’t easy. But the more we do it, the more we see them as Jesus sees them.
Ironically, when we start doing this, people will start seeing us differently, too.
Unveiling your third self
How do we effectively get people to look past their preconceived notions and see who we really are?
As believers, we’re compelled to model ourselves after Jesus. He was a compassionate truth-teller unafraid to suffer for the benefit of others.
In your various roles and circles in life, who do people need you to be, for their benefit? How do you think they would like you to change? At times do you wish you were more relational, quieter, more passionate, or more self-controlled?
With God’s help, why can’t you become that person, inside and out?
If you’re a Christ-follower, the divine third Person – the Holy Spirit – is already in you, ready and waiting to start the process of change.
Ask him who you need to be in order to serve, help, comfort and lead better.
Ask him to help you emulate Christ, who became like us in order to save us.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though he was rich, yet for your sake
he became poor, so that you
through his poverty might become rich.
– 2 Corinthians 8:9
This post is based on Through Colored Glasses: How Great Leaders Reveal Reality – A Leadership Fable, by Tom Harper (DeepWater Books, 2018). Available on Amazon and Audible.
This goes back a couple years. I just came across online the message I gave at the 2015 Work as Worship Conference.
Here is a summary of the message I gave and, I believe maybe if you log in, the audio.
Here’s the message description:
Business leaders hold a critical place in the world because work serves as one of the chief means God uses to change culture. Because of this, work carries tremendous value in the life of every Christ follower. In this 29-minute session from the 2015 Work as Worship Conference, Matt Perman, author and founder of WhatsBestNext.com, speaks on the significance of accomplishing work in a gospel-centered way.
The Worldview Study Bible raises this insightful issue:
“Christians must be different from the world.” Whenever we hear this statement in sermons or read it in books, we usually think about our behavior, right? We nod our heads and think, Yes, our actions must set us apart! But there’s another application of this statement that is equally important. Christians must be different from the world in the way we think.
That is a fantastic point. But how are we to develop our thinking as Christians? The new Worldview Study Bible is one tool to help—and it succeeds admirably.
The first way it succeeds is in showing the importance of intentionally developing our worldview as Christians. Everyone has a worldview, it points out. So we need to take to the task of developing an accurate, truthful, and biblical worldview.
Further, worldview is not only a matter of thought. It also aids our spiritual transformation and shows us how to live—and is actually essential for doing so (Romans 12:2). Trevin Wax, one of the general editors, makes this point in his article for the study Bible, “An Introduction to a Christian Worldview”:
God left us with something better than a simple list of commands. He gave us renewed minds that–through the power of his Spirit–will be able to discern what actions we should take. He is seeking to transform us so that we can determine God’s will in particular situations where explicit instructions are not spelled out in Scripture.
From even just a short time with this study Bible, I have been renewed in my conviction of the importance of biblical, worldview thinking.
Second, this study Bible succeeds in equipping us to develop an accurate worldview on the specific issues that are most facing us today. It is highly relevant to our era, and deals with the issues concisely, powerfully, and biblically.
It does this, of course, through the study notes. But especially noteworthy are the various articles spread throughout the Bible. These articles are simply fantastic. And, as I mentioned, they cover the relevant issues of our day, and are unique in the broad spectrum that they address. Some of the articles include:
The Bible also has great introductions that highlight the main worldview contributions of each book, the CSB translation it utilizes is good (using an optimal equivalence translation philosophy, which affirms formal equivalence while addressing its limits), and is well put-together, with Smyth-sewn binding.
There are lots of study Bibles out there. This one stands apart!
Update: LifeWay.com currently has the Worldview Study Bible available at a 50% discount for the next few days.
What’s Best Next received this Bible for free in exchange for our honest review.
People often say that “doing less” and “saying no” is the key to productivity. But this advice actually doesn’t work — unless you include with it the necessary corollary.
When you do that, you have perhaps the guiding concept for being effective.