Think you Know God? Think Again

**Joining us for developing spiritual habits? May I include a disclaimer?

This material is based on my life. I share this to serve, not preach. It may serve you or it may not. I pray those who will be served by it will be those who find it.

Take a look. What do you see?

Depending on your perspective, at first glance you either see an old woman or a young maiden. Some have a hard time switching between the two and can only see one. {I had a hard time seeing the old woman. If you are like me, focus on the choker, which is the old woman’s mouth.}

Just as our physical eyes perceive and interpret our surroundings, our spiritual eyes perceive and interpret life, ourselves, and God. It is our spiritual perspective (or “eye”) that interprets and explains God to us. It is how we understand God.

It can be accurate or dead wrong. It can be immature and underdeveloped or mature. It can be healthy or damaged.

Jesus tells us the condition of our spiritual eye is vitally important.

“The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is healthy, your whole body is also full of light. But when it is unhealthy, your body is also full of darkness. See to it then, that the light within you is not darkness.” ~ Luke 11:34-35

Jesus urges us to make sure our spiritual perspective is healthy. Yet the shocking reality is that most of us have never challenged our spiritual perceptions. We have never questioned our assumptions about God, ourselves, or life.

I didn’t. Because I grew up in church and became a believer as a child, I assumed I knew Him. The fact that I knew a lot of scripture, had planted a church, and had God’s call on my life to overseas missionary work caused me never to even consider that I might not truly perceive Him ~ KNOW Him~ accurately.

We interpret all of life through our spiritual eye, but the most important thing we view through it is God. It is possible for us to think we know and serve God when in fact we are serving an image of Him that has been created and shaped in the likeness of man.

In fact, the Bible teaches that this is not only possible, but without divine Words enlighting our eyes, it is probable. Paul is a chief example of this and the book of Galatians tells this part of his story, written for our instruction.

The premise of this study is that some of us need to challenge our understanding of God and, with the Lord’s blessing upon us, do some work getting our spiritual “eye” healthy.

Let’s begin by

Realizing that God’s Own People are frequently the ones who do not know Him.

When God began doing this work of exposure in my life, He used several passages to do it. One was the book of Ezekiel, where He speaks to His people, the Israelites. In this book alone, there are no less than 65 occurences where God says, “Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

God’s people can “know” God in a surface sense without “KNOWING”  Him, His heart, His intent, His nature, His rich goodness.

The most profound scripture God used to expose my lack of understanding Him was Isaiah 42:18,19:

“Hear, you deaf! And look, you blind, that you may see. Who is blind but My servant, or so deaf as My messenger whom I send? Who is so blind as he that is at peace with Me, or so blind as the servant of the Lord?”

According to God, who is blind?

Who is deaf?

Who is He clearly talking about?

{ If you want a NT reference, check out Revelation 3: 17-19. }

Whoa. That shook up my white picket fence Christianity. As a missionary, I fit the category. “Messenger.” “Servant.” “One at peace with God.”

It was the Spirit that drove the truth home to my heart: I was blind and deaf. I didn’t really “get” God.

God began to work this passage into my heart while at the same time working the circumstances of my life to bring me to a point of desperation. I needed answers and my then-current view of God wasn’t providing them.

For example, God brought someone into my life that I had a really difficult time loving. I knew I should love this person. I knew God wanted me to love this person. I knew this person needed my love and could be transformed by my love. Yet all the self-condemnation, shame, self-lectures, prayers, and confession did very little to increase my love for this person.

Then God used a simple verse to open my eyes to the root issue: “The one who does not love does not know God. Because God is love.” I John 4:8

It was as if God was telling me that my root issue was not a lack of love, but a lack of understanding… of God.

My typical approach to life had been do better, try harder, use whatever means necessary to make myself behave and do the right thing. God began to show me that I needed to replace all that self striving with one simple thing: know and understand Him.

I fell in love with Jeremiah 9:23-24 and began to make it my prayer, day in and day out, to know Him. To understand Him. “God, let me “get” You,” I prayed.

When we truly know and understand God, we have a healthy perspective on life. We understand the riches of God’s love. We see His lovingkindnesses expressed to us throughout each day. We have no need to perform. To be depressed. To worry.

Truly, knowing God and understanding God IS something to boast in!

Forming the Habit of “Know” This Week:

This month, we are developing the  habit of “know.” We are taking baby steps, walking this path one leg at a time. This week, let’s “know” what things can distort and damage our “eye.” Awareness of harmful influences is an important step.

For each of these scriptures, answer two questions 1) What negative influence affected the character’s perception and 2) What was the result/ how did they express their distortion? {Tip: Recognizing these expressions is very helpful!}

~ Exodus 6:6-9

~ Exodus 17:1-3

~ Psalm 77:7-12 (Note how the psalmist got his view back on track)

~ Matthew 11:2-6

~ Matthew 18:2-6 (Children can experience things that cause them to “stumble.” The meaning of this word is “to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey.” It is a scheme of Satan to do everything he can to cause children to “stumble.” If he used this tactic in your life, remember that Jesus does not speak “woe” to the one who stumbles but the one who caused it. We can recover from “stumbling!” No weapon that is formed against us will prosper!)

Now, apply it to your life. Has your perception been influenced by loss, grief, hardship, disillusionment, trauma, unmet needs, and the like? How does your life express those distortions?

The point of this is to recognize expressions in our lives that indicate we don’t really “get” God. Then, rather than focus on “fixing” ourselves, focus on FINDING GOD, As He really is.

That “knowing” will change everything.

{ You are welcome to share your insights here. Join in next Monday for another leg in the journey…}

**This post is linked to “Walk with Me Wednesday.” Learning from one another is something I give God thanks for.

Advertisements

14 Comments on “Think you Know God? Think Again”

  1. Renee Stam says:

    I grew up in Church too and knowing about” God, but “Knowing” God is different and made me different!

  2. […] the bottom line~ forget all the symptoms, lets get to the core~ that is what it all comes down to.We turn away from God as He is and our understanding of Him is distorted and damaged and clouded by … It is possible to think we know, love, and serve God when in fact we need to […]

  3. Suzanne says:

    Wow! God sent me to your blog purposefully since I am leading a Spiritual Formation class this Thursday. Your words have given me the perfect introduction to our six-weeks of walking with God through His Word. God is good!

  4. Arabah Joy says:

    Praise the Lord! Thank you for sharing this, Suzanne.

  5. […] Remember the optical illusion from two weeks ago? Our perspective is everyting in life. We cannot change what happened to us…but we can change the way we SEE it. […]

  6. […] I thought I understood. But I was, in fact, dead wrong. […]

  7. […] am not the only one to have tainted perceptions and painful pasts and need help day after day knowing God’s love. The Israelites… well they […]

  8. […] I will not grow discouraged, knowing that the more I train my senses, the clearer I will see God’s love, and that soon this will be a well established habit in my […]

  9. […] In this phase, God revealed to me the misconceptions I held about Him and His nature, the “flesh and blood” concepts I picked up as truth but in fact were lies. For example, God is not a taskmaster but the rule by […]

  10. […] sudden sense of my own foundations. I grew up in a home where religious parents were never pleased. I believed God was like that too. And I’m suddenly aware of the false god I just might be representing to […]

  11. […] grew up in a home where religious parents were never pleased. I believed God was like that too. And I’m suddenly aware of the false god I just might be representing to her. Of late, my prayer […]

  12. OneSurvivor says:

    I see so much truth in this! Thank you for sharing it. It is always exciting to see someone “get it”!

  13. Abigail says:

    Oh, what a great gift it is to be madly, passionately in love with Yahweh…to see Him…to know Him. I have experienced Him in so many aspects of my life for so long. It is what has sustained in the times when I did not see what He was doing…but I knew Him. I trusted Him. I rested in His love for me. There is nothing like it. The more I know Him…the deeper my understanding grows…the stronger my walk becomes.

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences on this. I pray that others will truly “get it”!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s