Eva. Isabella Mwango
When the pilot announced that we were now approaching Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, the pastor sitting next to me asked “So how do we get to where we are going?” “What do you mean?” I asked. She confessed that she had heard so many things about under-development in Africa and that she had even carried her own water and food, and a sleeping bag which she will need under a tree. A few days later, on the way to the city center from the same airport after picking some family members arriving from the US, my niece, Megan who was seven at the time, looked at me and said, “auntie, where are the elephants?” I politely told her the elephants are in the zoo and not at the airport or along the city’s streets. So I had a woman of God and my niece who was born and being raised in the US who had a wrong perception of Africa. Nothing grieves us so much as to have our friends mischaracterize, misjudge and misunderstand us. We grieve God when we do this to Him too.
Hence, time has come when we need to honestly evaluate our concept of God. How we perceive God translates to how He responds to us when in need. In this life we live our lives dictated by who God is and by the circumstances surrounding our lives. Although we say He is good because of what He has done, our perception about him can easily change depending on the circumstances we are facing. For example, we may call Him our healer when He heals, or call Him our provider when He provides for our needs.
However, when He does not answer our prayers, or when He does not give us what we have trusted Him for, we find it easy to label Him, or find an excuse to make Him look bad. We should never make excuses for Him, because He is who He says He is in His word. How we view God has an impact on how we live daily; it affects our entire lifestyle. It will affect how we respond to Him, how we view ourselves, how we treat others, and how we respond to situations and circumstances in life. It can also affect the way we think others perceive us and how we treat them in return.
How is our perception of God developed? Most of the time our view of who He is comes from what we have heard from others including parents, prophets, pastors, Sunday school teachers, books, TV, and radio. These are not bad, but they are not a good ground to stand on. In I Corinthians 2:5 Paul says, “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” The wisdom of men paints a picture of God from their own understanding. Human wisdom tells us to lean on our own understanding yet the Bible says to trust in the LORD with all our hearts and to acknowldge Him is all our ways (Proverbs 3:5-6). Our perception of God can also come from what He we have heard Him do compared to what we expect Him to do. We should ask God for a personal revelation because without Him personally revealing himself to you, you will only stand on the human wisdom of Him. We do this by believing in Him.
The bible says in Hebrews 11:6 “Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who diligently search for Him”. He says we must believe, He does not request, but demands that everyone who comes to Him must believe.
Why is our perception of Him important in our lives? When our perception of God is distorted we live in chaos and we believe the lies of the Devil about our circumstances. In this condition we cannot receive from God because our eyes are blinded by the false image of Him. Some people see Him as a harsh and austere God who is eager to punish every sin. To some He is just some higher power they characterize, but just believe that He is in existence for one reason or another. To some God is this salesman who says so much about himself but delivers very little or nothing at all. These beliefs about God are influenced by the lack of knowledge of who He really is in our personal lives.
How do we change our perception of God? How can we correct our view of God? This primarily involves renewing our mind through the Scriptures. As Paul exhorted the Romans, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the RENEWING OF YOUR MIND, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). The first place to start is in the Gospels where we read about the goodness of the Lord. Jesus did good; He healed the sick, He forgave sin and still forgives, restored the dead to life, and He restored people’s eyesight. Read through the Gospels drawing attention to the qualities of the Lord Jesus. Here we see Christ’s unique role in revealing our Creator.
As the writer of Hebrews says “God has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who [is] the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power. . .” (Hebrews 1:2-4). Our perception of God should be that He is a good God. If we deny this then this is due to lack of faith. Paul warns, “do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4). God is Holy, loving, forgiving, longsuffering, all-powerful, merciful, light, Spirit, gracious, true and truth, faithful, righteous, just, wise, sovereign, unchangeable and immutable, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, self-sufficient and self-existent, infinite, eternal.
This week I encourage you to reconsider your perception of God and how it has shaped the person you have become or has misshaped the person you currently are. Then I urge you by the mercies of God to renounce false ideas about God and affirm His true characteristics. You will find truth that sets you free and as a result you will increasingly love Him, because He first loved you.
Evangelist Isabella Mwango is the founder and president of Vessel for Honor Ministries International, a ministry with a focus on bringing the healing of Jesus Christ to all people. Its headquarters are in San Jose, California. For information on upcoming meetings and other ministry information, visit http://vesselforhonor.org. For more from Evangelist Isabella visit http://www.shoutlife.com/vesselforhonor. You can reach the ministry by phone at 1-408 -833-6456 or TOLL FREE at 1-888-501-2688.