How We See Ourselves May Differ from How Our Heavenly Father Sees Us
I was recently reminded that God’s perception of us can be quite different from our own self-perception.
The pressures of life overwhelmed a friend. One concern, a second, and then more conspired to weigh her down and steal her joy. She emailed me with a list of worries and asked me to pray.
Her concerns included the status of her job and her husband’s, finances, possible repercussions in standing up for what is right, her children’s struggles, and a lack of clarity over critical future decisions. Her message was full of worry and despair. And it surprised me.
It seemed out of character. I see her as a strong woman, full of faith and abounding in courage. This is far different from what her email portrayed.
Yet as I considered her situation more fully, I realized my lofty perception of her is misaligned from the reality I sometimes see in her life. There have indeed been seasons when she has worried and fretted over what is and what might be. Through these times we prayed, and God provided.
I laughed at myself over how wrong my perception was, but then God told me that my assessment of her as a strong woman, full of faith and abounding in courage was correct.
“You see her as I see her,” my Heavenly Father gently whispered in my ear. That gave me joy . . . and much hope.
Quite simply, God sees us differently than we see ourselves. Never forget that.
This reminds me of the story of Gideon in the Bible. God sent an angel to Gideon, who at the time was hiding in a winepress has he tried to thresh his wheat. God’s messenger called Gideon “a mighty warrior.” This surprised Gideon. Not only was he living in fear, but he saw himself as the least in his family.
God’s perception of Gideon was quite different than his own.
Yet Gideon seriously doubted what God called him to do. Despite his lack of faith in the beginning, Gideon obeyed God in the end and did what God told him to do. And Gideon prevailed through God’s provisions (Judges 6-7).
As with Gideon, we can view things from a human perspective, considering the tangible evidence around us and draw one set of conclusions. Or we can consider things from a spiritual perspective and reach a far different conclusion, one more closely aligned with Papa’s.
God gave me his perspective for my friend. Though it didn’t match what I could see in the physical world, it did align with what I perceived from a spiritual perspective.
God’s perception is the one that matters.
This makes me wonder about God’s perception of me. I suspect he’s much kinder and more generous of who I am than my own critical self-assessment.
More importantly what’s God’s perception of you? Does he offer you grace and mercy while you pile up judgment and condemnation that weighs you down? Though we could have an inflated self-perception, I suspect most followers of Jesus think less of ourselves than we ought to.
God’s perception of us is what matters. We can count on it.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.
Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.