4. CHANGING THE LENS: SEEING WITH GOD'S EYES
Our sense of identity has a huge bearing on the way we behave. What we believe about ourselves dictates the way we behave. We tell ourselves a ‘story’ which we then live up to; we all script ourselves like this: ‘I’m no good at maths’, ‘I have two left feet’, ‘I’m stupid’ etc. And then our experience ‘proves’ our beliefs.
But this is a faulty story. Our real identity lies in what God says about us. And we need to align ourselves with His word, rather than our experience.
I used to teach a number of young children with significant behaviour problems. I was really concerned that they didn’t build their sense of identity from their disturbed and violent behaviour, and would say to them, over and over, ‘This is not the real you. The real person is….’ and I’d paint a different, positive word picture. It was my hope that the Lord would also send other voices along the way, to turn them from potentially destructive futures to positive outcomes, based on a healthy sense of self.
This is how the Lord deals with us: Jesus looked at Simon (which means ‘a reed’) and renamed him Peter (which means ‘a rock’). Every time He spoke to him, Jesus reinforced His vision of Simon’s potential. God also changed Abram’s name to Abraham, which means ‘Father of Nations’ when he has only fathered one child, Ishmael. Romans 4:17 tells us that God gives life to the dead, and calls the things that are not, as though they were.
Jesus also died for those people with whom we have relationship issues. He sees the person they could be, made in His image, with amazing potential written into their lives. Let’s pray for a change of lens, for His ability to see. Then we can start to intercede, thanking God for the real person, asking for His will to be fulfilled in their lives, and speaking His blessings over them.
This is not for the faint-hearted - I feel challenged even as I write; it is so much easier to cling to our negatives! But this is how we co-operate with the Lord, who wants all people to be restored to His image & glory. Not everyone will respond to His love, for He has given us free will; but from our perspective, this partnership sets us free to act, rather than react. And it helps deal with the stress which comes from some of the relationships in our lives.
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