UCAN sharing: Appearances

Scripture: Jer. 9:3-16

Your word is a lamp to my feetAnd a light to my path. Ps. 119:105

We may not want to admit openly but all of us have had a moment when we look at a situation and we made a decision based on what we saw, heard and felt and believing it to be truth committed ourselves to action. Only to find out that what we thought was truth wasn’t at all so our decision was poor. We are left having to deal with the consequences of our decision. Most of the time it can be trivial and we write it off but once and awhile we make a decision that impacts us greatly binding us to burdensome and sometimes painful responsibilities. When we come to Christ, God gives us His Holy Spirit so that we need never be deceived by what we perceived. We can always turn to Him and ask Him what the truth is. The key is to work consistently to turn to God and develop an ear for Him. When we choose to incline our ear to God’s whisper we are guaranteed His wisdom and power.

Everyone depends on the input of their senses. It is correct to say that man is a sensual creature not just in sexual way but in the dependency we have to our senses. Whether we think about it or not we’re constantly picking up input from the world around you. Our senses are amazing at receiving many kinds of inputs from the environment around us. As we go through the day your mind receives endless amounts of information about what is happening. Consider a short walk to your convenience store. The moment you begin your touching, seeing and hearing a great deal. Shoes have to be found and put on; money has to be located and verbal communication has to be shared. As you step outside your body responds to the weather; is it sunny, cloudy, cold or hot? Your skin and eyes pick these things up immediately. From the constant use of our senses we become highly dependent upon them. Without them we feel uncomfortable and reluctant to act. Think about walking across a dark room. Man is truly deeply interwoven with his senses.

It is not surprising then to see how we include the information from our senses in to how we think and finally reach a conclusion. The problem with this is that at no time is man able, no matter how sharp his senses, to gather and perceive all the information needed to make a truthful decision. Man alone at best can make a well educated guess based what appears to be the best information. If we stop and think about this we all have to make decisions. The more important the decision the great the stress because inside us all we know we can make a mistake. This is cause of a great amount of fear.

Joshua and the Israelites were in the Promised Land doing what God told them to do. They had tasted victory and they had seen what the consequences of disobedience can be yet they found themselves poorly equipped to deal with the deception that came from the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites had prepared a careful plan of deception to save themselves from the destruction they saw as inevitable. It can be understood that they had discussed the story they would use and show the props they had prepared to convince Joshua and the Israelites that their story was truth. It worked.

8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Christians need to be aware that we are called to understand that there exist far more beyond our senses than what we can imagine. Natural man can’t accept this and this is why ideas like Evolution have come out. Christians need to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us to receive and release faith in to the existence of the supernatural world of God. Many Christians still rely on their minds to make life decisions so that like carnal man they are easily deceived. We forget that God warns us to be vigilant and ready because we have an enemy who is looking for those who are open to his lies. The devil needs us to be away from the truth of God to give us his lies. When we make decisions like Joshua and the Israelites by what we perceive to be the truth we are easily misled.

The devil is cunning, meaning he is crafty in making lies. Jesus called him the father of liars and having no truth in him (Jn. 8:44). His lies we can’t easily see but they are lies that look good and have an appearance of being beneficial. Think about Eve in the perfect Garden of Eden and how the devil got her to look away from the Lord. His lie was that good that Eve having the best of the best in perfection with communion with God yet she still received the serpent’s lie. Now if Eve who had so much going for her could be deceived how much more can we who are so imperfect. We all make the same mistake. We believe in our reasoning ability.

In Prov. 3:5-7 God makes an amazing promise to all who choose to seek Him for guidance. He says that if a person will lay aside the use of their mind to reach an answer and turn to Him in total trust, seeking His direction in all areas of their lives then he will take the most difficult situations we have and make clear the way we need to go to bring about the best solution. Note that it is God’s solution not necessarily ours. A twisted path is hard to travel but a straight path is easy. The challenge lies in the first step: putting aside our tendency to want to think and work our way of life. After all it is who we are in the natural and from small we learn to depend on it. Here is where the trust issue comes in. If we are to leave what “feels and looks” right (Prov.14:12) for what is right but we may not see it or may not understand it (Isa. 5:8-9) we are going to need faith and trust to get God’s wisdom. This is the mistake Joshua and Israelites made. They failed to ask God if the Gibeonites were telling the truth or not (Jos. 9:14) so they decided by what they saw.

Most Christians wait till there is a dire situation to turn to the Lord in search of wisdom. This doesn’t work but not because God is withholding His wisdom but rather we simply are not equipped to receive it. God speaks through many ways but His preferred way is by the small quiet voice and His word. When we are not interested in pursuing God consistently and being with him and a life trouble comes we can’t hear him because our spiritual ears are not developed from lack of use. This is why God tells us to acknowledge him in all ways so we learn to depend on him first in the little then when the big trouble comes we are able to stand firm. James 1:5 says that God gives wisdom freely without pointing a finger at us if we will believe and turn to him. If we practice this daily we will come to see how much greater God’s view is than ours. We will experience how God sees all things all the time and knows what is best. For example, take GPS which today is commonly used by many to navigate. If you are driving and the GPS tells you to take a turn but you don’t agree will you turn or not? When you truly believe in the technology of GPS and that it has a better scope of traffic than you, then the better decision is to trust in the GPS. It’s the same way with God. Allow Him to lead you all the time so that you grow to believe that He is true and faithful and what he offers is not like anything else.

 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: Matt 7:24

God’s wisdom is His and thus reflects who he is holy, eternal and all knowing. We have a choice to seek God for his ways and walk in them or not. Those who are wise will recognize their need for His person and seek Him diligently in all their ways. They see that God offers them stability beyond our senses. He offers something that can’t be taken from us because it is not temporal or outside us like money or our physical bodies. It is spiritual and inside us. It is truth. God is truth (Jn. 14:6) and when we receive Him we abide (live) in truth. In this way no one can deceive us by their appearances for we know the One who sees in to the souls of men.

33  These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you [a] will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”Jn 16:33

Have you made decisions that have become heavy to carry? Did you find that you weren’t so wise and you can see your need to greater wisdom? Are you ready to live guided by the One who knows all and loves you with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3). Turn to Him now and repent of trusting yourself over Him and ask Him to lead you in all your ways. Seek to shut off the other voices in your head and learn not to trust in appearances but in God alone. He will never leave you nor forsake you.

See that you can’t always trust your eyes. (Just for fun.)