Believing is Perceiving
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)
What you perceive to be true becomes the reality in which you live. This is not meant to be some deep metaphysical statement. It’s simply the truth. We’ve all known people who were kind, wonderful people who lived very insecure lives simply because they believed something untrue about themselves. Maybe you’re one of those people.
What you choose to believe will, without a doubt, determine the quality of your life. If you believe you’re unlovely, unwanted, and unwelcomed, you will live life looking down at the ground, afraid to make eye contact with people. If you believe you’re a person who has the ability to add value to others, you will likely be confident and outgoing, looking for opportunities to encourage and invest in people. This principle is not only true naturally; it’s true spiritually as well. What we believe shapes our perceptions, and our perceptions shape the reality in which we live.
When it comes to your own personal value, you have to decide who you’re going to believe. You may have had parents or peers who failed to value you. You may have been made to feel worthless to those around you, but the fact is, no man, woman, boy, or girl has either the right or the power to determine your value. In fact, your value has already been determined by the cost God was willing to pay, and the length He was willing to go, to secure your redemption.
“…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold… but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)
If the value of a thing is determined by the price paid for it, then you and I are of inestimable worth to God. He placed a value on us above all the wealth of this world when He spilled the blood of His Son to secure our pardon – to redeem us back to Himself. If I were to offer a one-hundred-dollar bill to a crowd of people and said, “This bill has been used in strip clubs, drug deals, and illegal arms sales,” I bet I would still have a lot of takers. Why? Because where that bill has been and how it has been used does nothing to take away from its inherent worth. Likewise, regardless of where one has been or what he or she has done, it does nothing to reduce their inherent worth to God. He paid the same price for the prince as He did the prostitute.
In Christ we are given a new identity. In fact, Paul said, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). God does not see us as an “old sinner,” but as one whom He has declared righteous through the redeeming work of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). In fact, the Bible says that if we have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, we are “in Christ,” meaning that our identity is lost in Him. He does not see us as we once were, but in the light of that redemption; forgiven, cleansed, and worthy to stand in His presence – not by virtue of our own works, but because of the finished work of Christ. What we must do is believe that, for what we believe will determine our perception, and our perception will shape the reality in which we live. Too many believers are living defeated lives simply because they refuse to believe what God says about them in the light of the redemption He secured on their behalf.
Let me remind you for a moment regarding what God says about you, the child of God. The Bible says that He has delivered you from the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13) and seated you together with Him in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 2:6), which is far above all demonic principalities and powers (Ephesians 1:19-21). God has qualified you through Christ to be His child, and He has given you an inheritance among all His saints (Colossians 1:12). He has put His Spirit within you to reveal His secrets to your heart (1 Corinthians 2:12), and that same Spirit lives in you forever, as your constant companion, helper, and guide, and He will even show you things to come (John 16:13). There is no need you will ever have for which God has not already made provision (2 Peter 1:2-4), and all His promises to you are sure (2 Corinthians 1:20). God loves you, and He invites you to come boldly to His throne of grace to enjoy rich fellowship with Him, as well as to obtain mercy and find grace to help in your time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16). There is more, much more, that God says about you, but it will not benefit your life unless you believe it. If you believe the things that God says about you, you will live an empowered, victorious, and fruitful life. If you believe what the devil whispers in your ear about you, you will live in frustration and defeat, even though God has already blessed you with “every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
Many years ago, there was a man who attended the church I pastored who seemed to really struggle in his Christian walk. When he was in fellowship, there was no one who worked harder to serve in the church. When he was “out” we wouldn’t see him for months. One Sunday in church, he testified about an experience he had that I believe illustrates the power of perception as much as anything I have ever heard. He said that he had a dream in which he was looking through prison bars at a horrible being he knew to be Satan. The Devil was laughing and mocking him as he looked at him through those prison bars. As he was feeling the horror and oppression of his apparent situation, he heard behind him a voice that called his name. When he turned and looked around, he saw that he was not behind bars at all, but rather standing in a beautiful, green field. Jesus was standing there with His arms opened to him. It had been He who had called his name. Suddenly, this man looked back to see that it was, in fact, the devil behind those bars, while he stood free and in the presence of Jesus Himself. The difference between freedom and bondage for the child of God is determined by whether or not we truly believe in what Christ has done for us. Are we listening to the lies of the devil, or the liberating truths of God’s Word?
“If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). You have been made free, righteous, and holy by the sanctifying work of Christ. As your mind is renewed to the reality of who you are in Him, and what He has provided for you, you will begin to rise to new heights in your walk and relationship with Him and enjoy a fruitful and fulfilling life. If you have not yet accepted Christ, His hand is stretched out still. The price has already been paid and the table set. There is a place for you there if you will but accept His gracious invitation.