Faith: My perception is not my reality
Jeremiah 29:11 ”For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
I want to start off this morning with a simple reminder that God thinks of you. Not only does He think of you, He has specific thoughts about you — thoughts of peace, not of evil — to give you hope and a future, the NIV version says.
Allow me to tell someone from the start of this article today that the Creator of all things has been thinking about you, not just about your name but specific thoughts about you. I don’t know about you this morning, but knowing the Lord is thinking about me today and my future gives me hope and brings peace even in the midst of my storm.
I think that depression and anxiety can be described as a storm. One thing I have learned over the last five years is no matter what you are fighting, God will always give you what you need to defeat it.
What happens when you are in a storm? You lose focus, direction and landmarks. Fear settles in. You feel hopeless.
So it is in the natural, it is in the spiritual. When you are in a spiritual storm, the same things happen. You lose focus and direction, fear sets in and our minds begin to work overtime. Your perception becomes reality.
Luke 8:23-25 “As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. Then he asked them, ‘Where is your faith?’ The disciples were terrified and amazed. ‘Who is this man?’ they asked each other. ‘When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!’”
These men were captains on boats. This wasn’t their first trip to the sea. But when the storm hit, they lost their cool and started to panic instead of going to what they knew worked last time. They ran down to Jesus and He rebuked the storm.
Jesus rebukes the storm, and then He looks at the disciples and says, “Where is thy faith?”
Get this today. If you don’t hear another word I say, get this please — He still rebuked the storm even when they were faithless. If you will get His attention, He will rescue you when you don’t have enough faith to fight the storm. He will rescue you when you have lost your way. He will rescue you when fear sets in. He will rescue you when you are feeling hopeless.
Get this and your perception becomes your reality, but your perception doesn’t change reality. There are some people reading this who know exactly what I am talking about being faithless. The pain and fight you have experienced in your life have created this mindset, and it’s crippling to your walk with God.
Some here this morning are hanging out with people who are not pushing you toward the things of God but pulling you away from them. Who we are around has something to do with our perception. We need to stop believing every Facebook post and every word of gossip that is told.
It might be their perception, but that doesn’t mean it is 100% true. You can’t change someone’s perception because their perception is their reality, but that doesn’t change reality. Do yourself a favor and start aligning yourself with people who fit your destiny and not your history.
Job 23:8-10 “I go east, but he is not there. I go west, but I cannot find him. I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden. I look to the south, but he is concealed.”
“But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.”
Job’s perception is that God cannot be found. No matter where Job walks, God feels hidden from Job’s perception. I come to tell someone this morning that just because Job’s perception of God was He was not near doesn’t change the facts of God’s Word.
Hebrews 13:5 “For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Just because it feels like He has left and is not around doesn’t change the fact that He said he would never leave you.
Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Job’s feelings, or his perception, couldn’t change the reality that God was by his side.
He started a good work in you. He will finish it. He thinks thoughts of Peace, Hope and your future.
Tony Bohrer is the pastor at Lighthouse of Craig.
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