Perception Is in the Eye of the Beholder
By Julie Zine Coleman
There is no one holy like the Lord, indeed, there is no one besides You. Nor is there any rock like our God. 1 Samuel 2:2 NASB
On most grocery shopping trips during our kids’ teen years, my cart was literally filled to overflowing. As I walked the last aisles, things would often slide off the enormous food pile onto the floor.
One evening at Safeway, a woman walked toward me. I could see she was eastern European by her clothing, facial features, and the language by which she conversed with her friend. When she spotted my overflowing cart, she stopped short in amazement. Whipping out a camera, she began to film me and my cart. It was an awkward moment.
When I arrived home, I told my husband: “I’m pretty sure I am about to be featured in a propaganda film on American Capitalist Pigs.”
We were far from rich. Every month it was a struggle to make ends meet. But to that woman, coming from a poverty-stricken post-communist country, I must have seemed very wealthy. To buy so much food at once—how crazy is that?
It’s a great example of difference in perspective. My idea of “just surviving” was far removed from hers.
Perspective comes from our experience. Living in the land of plenty, where we bristle when something is inconveniently sold out on the shelves, has dulled my sense of gratitude for what we do have.
That same principle is true of our spiritual perception. Isaiah lived in a land where hypocrisy ruled. People were giving lip service to God, merely thinking of Him as one in a list of deities to be worshipped. Isaiah had grown complacent about man’s sinful state. So God gave him a vision to awaken his soul.
Isaiah saw God seated on His throne: lofty and exalted. The train of his robe filled the temple. Heavenly creatures surrounded him, calling out, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts! The whole earth is filled with His glory” (Isaiah 6:3, NASB). The earth shook and the temple filled with smoke.
It was an eye-opening moment. Instantly Isaiah saw the fallacy of his complacency. “Woe to me, for I am ruined!” he cried. “Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts” (Isaiah 6:5, NASB).
What had suddenly changed Isaiah’s perception of himself and the world around him? A good dose of reality. A fresh understanding of the power, greatness, and holiness of God.
When the Lord then called for a volunteer to carry His message, Isaiah responded without hesitation. “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8b, NASB).
We grow complacent when all we absorb is what the world offers. The attitudes, actions, and philosophies of humankind seep into our oblivious souls. Gradually, they deaden our recognition of our need for God. Our sense of “good” becomes distorted. We lose our awareness of God’s presence and have trouble discerning the Holy Spirit’s inspiration and guidance.
What is the cure for spiritual complacency? Getting a fresh vision.
God has revealed Himself through His Word. If we want a vision of Him, we need to delve into its pages. We can see Him revealed in His interactions with sinful, needy man. The contrast between the two can be startling. We can study the many names that He has called Himself. We will view His power and His great plan for the world since the beginning of time. It will take an eternity to know Him fully. There is always something more.
Getting a proper perspective can whip us right out of our complacency. The lies and faulty ideas of humankind get put in their proper place. A heart filled with God’s truth can shine a light on the darkness that has crept into our souls.
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Find a fresh vision from the Bible today. It will spur you on, move you in the right direction, and facilitate perseverance in the long haul. You will never be the same again.
Julie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.
Does the Bible depict women as second-class citizens of the Kingdom? Jesus didn’t think so. Unexpected Love takes a look at the encounters that Jesus had with women in the gospels. You will fall in love with the dynamic, beautiful, and unexpectedly personal Jesus.
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