Reality is a funky thing.
That’s my way of saying, “Put on your trippy thinking cap, laddies.”
First: The Greek word we translate into English as “truth” is alethia, and it can just as easily be translated “reality.” Add to that concept the fact that Jesus Christ is “the Truth” (John 14:6), that your faith is not merely what you believe, but what you DO with what you believe (James 2). Truth, biblically speaking, is not a list of facts, but reality itself. A personal reality. Truth isn’t just true, it’s real. It works. It’s amazing.
Because Jesus is the truth, and truth is reality, it’s absolute. It would have to be, absolutely.
But because Jesus is the truth, and Jesus is personal, truth—or at least some of it—is personalIZED.
Huh? Am I babblespeaking some New Age, all-things-are-relative nonsense? Not at all. But track with me.
Truth, it seems, has a solid, absolute, unchanging core. This is to say our perception of reality doesn’t change one whit of it. You know, the person of Christ, his work on the cross, the central tenets of scripture. That said, truth also seems to have fuzzy edges. And here I mean that our perception of reality not only determines our experience of it, but the shape of it as well.
Examples of our perception determining our experience of reality:
– If I believe God is far off, he will feel far off.
– If I believe God is judging, I will filter everything he does and he will sound and feel judging to me.
– If I believe God doesn’t forgive me, I will still feel guilty.
In each of these cases, we believe something so strongly that while it isn’t true, it might as well be. I think we all understand these, right? But sometimes our perception actually creates or shapes our reality itself, not just our experience of it. Some examples:
– If I believe Satan is behind every bush and must be fought and overcome wherever I meet him, he will oblige me. My life will actually fill up with hair-raising stories of demonic encounters. These will be real experiences, made possible by my faulty perception. It also explains why, when someone is properly instructed about their authority in Christ, those experiences dwindle. That person’s reality changes because of their perception of it. In other words, Satan is often quite happy to live in the false reality we create for him because it usually gives him too much power, power he is happy to wield.
– If I don’t believe God does miracles, far fewer of them (if any) will happen in my life. It will actually change my reality.
– If I believe the world is a dangerous, dishonest place filled with people who want to take advantage of me, my world will become a dangerous, dishonest place filled with people who take advantage of me.
These are more than just self-fulfilling prophecies. The idea that our perception shapes our reality explains why:
-Religion seems to give people something while being quite dead.
-The people who are the most demon focused experience more of the demonic. They really do get attacked, even though the Bible offers a different path, a different reality to live under.
The lesson, obviously, is to be careful what we believe—and to let Jesus reform and reshape our reality as he sees fit. We are always in need of a divine “reality check.”