Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Our Perceptions vs Our Reality

Our Perceptions vs Our Reality
by David Brenneman

In our lives we ought to always be aware of the perceptions of people in regards to our choices and decisions.  We may indeed not have done anything inappropriate, but the perceptions of others might make it seem as though we had. 

Likewise our lives, in Christ, aren't ours to live our way.  Invariably those prayers we pray will change us as well as the person or people we pray for.  

Jacob was distressed an in his distress prayed concerning his brother Esau. The result was that both of them were changed.

"Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will prosper you,’ I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies. Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children. For You said, ‘I will surely prosper you and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be numbered.’ ” Genesis 32:9-12

Daily, we are to lay down our own will, and in its place put what Jesus desires for us.

"And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me." Luke 9:23.

God isn't interested in our personal happiness over His workmanship in us, which is our sanctification.  He, as He wrote in Romans at the hand of Paul, is transforming our lives.  

It's quite humorous to see or hear stories of people saying what they will or won't do. Of where they will or won't go.  Never once considering that the lives they live in the flesh isn't theirs to live. 

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." Galatians 2:20.  

This here this now is not some random occurrence in human history for us to be here living a life.  What we do before others either turns them towards a life in Christ or it turns them away.  

People who are Christians ought to have the mind of Christ if only at least in part.

It's heartbreaking to Jesus to see Christians give Him a bad name.  That they aren't living a life submitted to Him.  That their own cross sits and isn't carried by the one He died for.  That their own will matters more than the lives they could be changing or could be leading to Him.

Sadly it seems that the One whom is truly often forgotten about the most is in fact Jesus.  

The One whom gave His all on the altar to save humanity is often the One most neglected.  

Does your heart reflect the heart of Christ Jesus or is it solely yours?  Are the fruits of the Spirit alive in you and increasing or does the fruits of self? 

"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice." Ephesians 4:31.

We are often the worst at being truthful about ourselves. 

When the fruits of self are yours and increasing, you will grow more and more distant from the righteous life that God desires for you.  When all you do is harbor anger, hate, bitterness, that's all that will come out of you. 

"Therefore, if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there you remember that your brother has something against you,  leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering." Matthew 5:23-24.

We live in a disposable culture. Everything about people from before birth to their end is seen as something to be tossed when it no longer holds value to self.  Everything that God cherished and built into the human existence is now devalued and canceled.  

"So then, be careful how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Ephesians 5:15-17.

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,  idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit." Galatians 5:16-25.

A life given to Christ should reflect Christ. The character of Christ is the work of the Spirit in each who calls Him Savior and Lord.  

Why oh why do so many Believer's treat other Believers the way that they do?  Only the Spirit knows who belongs to Christ and who isn't. The mind of Christ is seeking the will of His Father, not His own.  

We ought to always seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. Seeking first means to lay aside ourselves, our wants and desires.  

"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corinthians 5:21.

If we would just live a life wholly surrounded to Christ, oh the difference that would be.  

I  know that I am a long way from being fully sanctified in Christ, but looking back I can see how far the Spirit has brought me.  Laying aside self willingly is when the greatest changes in me happened.  I don't want people to see me, I am hoping they would see Christ in me.  I have a lot of shame in my life from those times when the fruits of bitterness and anger defined me.  

My Dear Reader, it's always best to not even go down the road of anger and bitterness because when, not if, the Spirit rips that out of you it's going to be painful. 

Being right before Jesus is the only place to be.   If we're angry, bitter, spiteful, towards others, He says He will NOT hear our prayers.  If we are keeping track of wrong's, that's another barrier between ourselves and God.  

If our perception of life isn't what the Spirit desires for us, we're living the wrong life. It does not matter what good we think we are doing in all other areas of life.  Disobedience in any small way is disobedience in all. 

My Friend, how can you say that you have the mind of Christ when you're consumed with only seeing the faults in other's?  That their wrong's are so much that you cannot forgive?  Is that the mind of Christ?  Is that a true perception of the reality in which you live?   

"If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen." 1 John 4:20.

Perception is everything.  What people perceive is what's their reality.  I have often been told that.  If you do not walk by the Spirit, then you are carrying out the desire of the flesh.  If you aren't walking by the Spirit your perceptions are wrong about your life.  

What are you doing to walk in a manner worthy of your calling in Christ Jesus?

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. Lockman Foundation 

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