The Perception of God – What Do You Believe?

Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.
Proverbs 4:23

What we know and what we believe can be two different things. We may know the Bible says God is love, but not believe it in our heart.

Our perception of God can be distorted by the way others have treated us, the wickedness of this world, or the enemy. Our adversary works overtime to cloud our minds with doubt by shooting us with flaming thought–arrows like: “Since God permits evil, He must not be the sovereign, righteous God of love He says He is, right? Does He really care?”

If I were to ask you what you believe about God, what would you say? Would you answer with a Sunday school answer or quote a Bible verse that doesn’t reflect what’s really at the core of your heart as many do? Or would you have the courage to say something like this: “I’m struggling in my faith. I’ve fallen so many times, I just don’t know if the Lord can forgive me. Sometimes I feel like He’s waiting for me to blow it so He can drop the hammer.”

Today I’d like to encourage you to go deep and ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind what you really believe about the Lord in your heart. As He does, write it in your journal. Look at all of who God says He is in Scripture. Do you truly believe He is compassionate and faithful (Lamentations 3:22–23), love (1 John 4), holy (Leviticus 11:44), near (Philippians 4:5, Psalms 139), just (Isaiah 30:18), merciful and gracious (Psalms 86:15), and that He reigns over all (Psalms 103:19)?

Or do you see Him as something else? In my own life, I’ve struggled with a false perception of God, seeing Him as difficult if not impossible to please—cold, hard, and angry, ready to wail on me for every failure. This made it miserably hard to receive forgiveness, accept His love, or understand His kindness. It also played a major role in keeping me bound in sexual sin, as I would medicate the pain with the lies of lust. Since I believed I couldn’t please God or be loved by Him, I was always busy doing, striving to earn His approval, and hoping God wouldn’t fry me. As a result, all the verses about the love, grace, and mercy of God would ricochet off my heart like a rubber ball bouncing off a wall.

As the Lord reveals the lies you’ve bought into, deal with them by going to His Word with the Holy Spirit as your counselor. In John 8:31–32, Jesus promised us that “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Every time you open God’s Word, ask Him to reveal the truth to your heart. Heart change may not come immediately, but the Lord promised we will know the truth if we continue in His Word.

There have been many instances in my life where I’ve experienced profound heart change, just from time alone with the Lord and His Word. Often, He opened my heart to the truth after a time of persistent seeking.

May God grant you the grace of knowing Him today.