A special thanks to @Jeremy_Binns for allowing me to piggyback my thoughts on top of his insightful writing.
I read “How Our Perceptions Are Formed” by Jeremy Binns.
(It is part of his four part series on perceptions. You can take a look at them HERE. I encourage it.)
After I finished going over it, I ran into one of my most prominent character attributes…
…not being able to leave well enough alone.
His observation was that our perceptions are constructed by two things,
our experiences, and our information. Bringing him to this conclusion,
“Here’s the bottom line regarding how our perceptions are formed.
Bad experience and bad information results in faulty perceptions.”
“On the other hand…
Better experiences and better information results in proper perceptions.”
At that point my mind started its analysis and permutations.
(You’re going to want to buckle in now.)
I want to define “bad” and “good”.
Bad as in subjectively bad?
“I had sex before marriage and it ruined my relationship.”
Good as in subjectively good?
“I had sex before marriage, and that’s how we knew we were right for each other and got married.” (Good experience.)
Wouldn’t those two experiences then create coinciding information?
Someone would then say,
“Hey, don’t have sex before marriage. I did, and it ruined me.”
Or, the other may say,
“Having sex before marriage was the best thing I ever did.
I was able to find out right away who was right for me.”
That could be the information gathered from their experiences.
That is the information they would spread to others.
What each of them could say would be an accurate representation of their experiences.
So, is that “good” information? Or, even though it is accurately told, is it “bad” information?
I personally am only interested in absolutes. I look for absolute truths.
I agree our perceptions are based on experiences and information;
however, it is important to understand that experiences also create information,
and we interpret our experiences subjectively.
Then it follows that subjectively created information, based off of subjectively interpreted experiences, creates subjective perceptions.
This is where significant conflicts arise.
What will happen?
Someone will follow on in their life according to their subjective experiences,
and rely on the subjective information given to them by those around them.
They may well live their entire lives never having any problems, but, for some…
…that’s not how it goes.
For some, their lives bring them to face the betrayal of their experiences and gathered information.
“I never did anything sexual before marriage,
and my marriage only lasted three months.
But I know someone who did nothing but sleep around,
and they’ve been happily married with three kids for 30 years.”
“Everyone in my Church has a story to tell.
They prayed for jobs, for health, for money, for love…
…and they got hired, got better, got finances and got married.
I only prayed that my mom would live for one last Christmas.
I wasn’t even praying that she get miraculously healed…
…just one more Christmas.
Just five more days.
She died the next day.”
. . .
How do you decide what to believe?
When both experiences and information conflict, what do you do then?
We were warned that nothing in life is 100%.
“I saw that in all the world, it is not always the fastest that wins the race,
the strongest does not always win the fight,
the wisest can starve for lack of food, the most intelligent can go broke,
and those who are the most talented can still fail.
No. The truth is that time and chance happen to everyone.”
– Ecclesiastes 9:11
But we reject that paradigm, don’t we?
We want the good to always win, and the bad to always fail.
We want anyone who loves God to prosper, and anyone who defies Him to loose.
We want our prayers in faith to always be answered “Yes”,
while those who put their trust in horoscopes to always fail…
...but that is not how this world operates.
It could not be any plainer than Jesus Himself telling us…
“You will suffer in this world…” John 16:33 (excerpt)
Yet we still turn aside, and want to disbelieve the truth of it.
Why? Because its daunting to accept. Look at it, right?
Wars, plague, murders, riots, hate, fear…
…how can we ever hope to overcome the world?
What did Jesus tell us, right after, in the same breath, after He warned us of our troubles?
“You will suffer in this world; but keep your hope, I have overcome the world.”
- John 16:33b
So now what?
What do we do when our experiences, even our good ones, could only be bad examples?
What do we do when we could take any bit of information on earth,
and find another byte of information to contradict it?
Here now is the answer.
“This is the victory that has overcome the world — Our faith.”
- 1 John 5:4b
Do not rely on information. It can fail you.
Do not rely on your experiences. They can deceive you.
Rest your hope fully on faith.
Hope is not a tool that is used on things we can prove through experiences we’ve had.
“We are saved in our hope, but hope that is seen is not hope!
Who needs to hope for what they already have?
No, we hope for what we do not yet have, and we wait eagerly, and with perseverance.”
- Romans 8:24-25
Faith is not a tool that is used on things we can prove through information we’ve seen.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
- Hebrews 11:1
We keep our hope, and we cling to our faith no matter what sufferings are laden upon us.
Rather we receive our promises here and now or not.
“Some received an earthly reward for their faith,
but others were tortured, mocked, whipped, chained up, stoned, cut in half,
tempted, killed with a sword, homeless they wandered in animal skins, always destitute,
afflicted and tormented. The world was not worthy of them.
Yet, they stayed in deserts, mountains, animal dens and caves;
all the while never receiving the promise of their faith.”
- Hebrews 11:35-39
Why? Why do we who keep faith so often suffer? - We do so in order to glorify God.
“We have this treasure in us, even though we are as weak as clay pots.
This is so it may be clear to everyone that the power is not our own, not of this world,
but is rather from God.
So under great pressure from all sides, we are still not crushed.
Under great confusion, we are still not consumed by despair.
Even when we are persecuted, we are not forsaken.
Even when we are beaten to the ground, we are not broken.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:7-9
The purpose of our lives is to be at all times and in all ways living arrows that point to God.
“In all things we are committed to be ministers of God:
in patience, in sufferings, in need, in distress, if whipped, if imprisoned,
in struggles, in work, in sleeplessness, in fasting,
by purity, by knowledge, by endurance, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit,
by true love, by the word of truth, by the power of God,
by the armor of righteousness on both sides of us, rather honored or dishonored,
rather slandered or lauded.
We are called deceivers, but stay true, we are not popular, but well known,
even in dying, yet we still live, as beaten, but not killed, we are sorrowful, yet still always rejoice,
we are poor, but make others rich, even though we have nothing, we yet possess all things.”
– 2 Corinthians 4-10
It is the very incongruities that we want to reject that can make our faith believable to outsiders.
For anyone can say they have faith in God when all things go their way.
Anyone can say they believe in something when it’s so proven it’s seems impossible to disbelieve.
However, when we as Christians say we believe God loves us,
even when all of our life seems to be crumbling away beneath us,
it is then one may see that and question…
"Where do they get their strength and confidence? Could there be something to it after all?”
You see, someday, the world may abandon them.
At that time, they may not be able to imagine how they will survive that abandonment.
Then they could remember that you not only survived - you conquered.
That could bring them to you asking…
That is them opening the door to their heart,
and when you walk in you will not tell them about the experiences you’ve had,
you will not unload on them all the information you’ve gathered.
You will simply tell them of about your #AbsoluteFaith in Jesus.
777ark Vincent Vicari †
“Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some person ever reads.” - William J. Toms
“No one ever converted to Christianity because they lost the argument.” - Philip Yancey
- - -
This one not being recorded yet, I have recorded audio versions of my other devotionals,
in formats that both do, and do not have background music. They can be listened to at…
Please note – If Bible verses are not specifically noted as being taken directly from the King James Version, I paraphrase all Bible verses that I use. The primary reason for this is in putting a verse into my own words I clearly expose how I read and understood the verse myself. Please always take the time to compare my understanding of a verse with the verse itself from your preferred translation of the Bible.
© 2016 Mark Vicari - All Rights Reserved