the deception of perception
At the beginning of 2018, my perceptions about faith and the word of God were completely turned upside down by someone I trusted, and thought was a very close friend. I was made to believe that everything was spiritual including my mental health. She had me believing that my diagnosis of bipolar disorder was actually a demonic possession and that my family had negative spirits, or demons in them causing them to push me away from God or what she thought was holy when in fact she was trying to deceive me with false teaching.
The fact that we really do not know all there is to know about God, we tend to have our own perception of him fueled by what we hear or see about Him. For example, as we listen to pastors who preach false gospels like the “prosperity gospel” or "word of faith" gospel, we will have a different perception of God and how He wants us to live. When we are in a negative environment that teaches us falsely about what the Bible says, although we want to believe that a pastor knows what the bible says and will speak the truth, we will form a false belief or perception which will, in turn, keep us from seeing the truth or the true God in our daily lives.
In my own experience, I was pulled in by someone who claimed to have great knowledge about God and claimed she was the Holy Spirit in flesh. I wanted so badly to have a closer relationship with God, so I believed every word she spoke. My family knew better after meeting her and could see I was blind, but I was so far into this perception, I had placed walls up against the truth. I was made to feel very loved and cared for by this person who convinced me that my family was the enemy and that they needed healing to see the truth (her perception of the truth). Because this person had some deep-rooted issues of her own, she believed what she was saying and felt superior in bringing others to her side to build this “church” she was constructing to lead. “But the Lord said to Samuel, do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7, ESV). Her issues which I later found stemmed from her childhood, caused her to have to be in control of everyone and every situation around her as well as a constant need for attention.
After the scales were finally lifted from my eyes, I learned that if there is no peace to be found in any situation, then it is not of God. The turmoil that this person caused within my family and the lack of compassion she displayed, allowed me to see more clearly how the enemy works. I understand that there are trials and battles to overcome, sometimes on a daily basis, but there is also peace within the storm if God is there, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, ESV), otherwise I run because I know now that within the enemy’s lair or in enemy territory, there will be no presence of peace, only darkness that sets in, creating blindness and confusion. I have since been using scripture to test against the word of man with the Bible as my guide. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2, ESV).
I now live every day trying very hard to discern darkness from light living only by the word of God. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulations. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:13, ESV).
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