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Accurate Perceptions

“What I believe about God is the most important thing about me.”

A.W. Tozer

I worked with a doctoral student while attaining my master’s degree in counseling and guidance. He came to my fourth grade classroom and taught the students how what we believe directly affects our feelings and actions. The parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 gives an example of how important it is to have an accurate perception of God.

“But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.” (verse 18) Why did the one talent man bury his money, when the five and two talent men put their money to work? We can find the answer in verses 24b-25a. “‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground.'” The entrusted servant’s impression of his master dictated his emotions and determined his actions. His thoughts directed his steps. 

I’m reading Brennan Manning’s “Abba’s Child.” In it, he writes that we sometimes “unwittingly project onto God our own attitudes and feelings toward ourselves. If we feel hateful toward ourselves, we assume that God feels hateful toward us.” Our misconceptions about God and ourselves cause a knee-jerk reaction in how we feel and what we do.

If we’ve had a difficult relationship with our earthly Dad, we may think our heavenly Daddy is just like him. Satan tries to deceive us by distorting the truth about what God is like. If we believe lies about God and how He feels toward us, then we will act out of those beliefs.

If I believe God is loving, kind, generous, and good, then I will trust Him and have an intimate relationship with Him. But if I believe God is demanding, harsh, and out to get me, then I will be afraid of Him and keep Him at a distance. When I believe lies, I glorify the enemy, but when I believe the truth found in the Word, I glorify the Lord.

Whether we believe lies or truth, our beliefs will affect our relationship with God. And that is why it’s so important to have accurate perceptions.

“The real tragedy of life is not in being limited to one talent, but in the failure to use the one talent.”

Edgar W. Work

Relevant Reflections:

  1. How have your beliefs about God affected your relationship with God?

  2. Take a few minutes and write down your thoughts about God, who He is to you. What will you feel and do as a result of the lies or truth that you believe?

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