It’s Not What It Looks Like

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It’s Not What It Looks Like

By Grant Gaines

What do you get when you combine hundreds of pounds of machinery, a windy outdoor day in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and two uneducated men? Well, it depends on who you ask.

If you were to ask me, I would tell you that you would get nothing special from the above equation. What can a bunch of random parts, an open field, and a couple of everyday “Joe’s” have to do with each other? However, if you asked those two uneducated men – Orville and Wilbur Wright – what they could get from the above equation, they would tell you that you could make the first ever aircraft. And that’s exactly what they did – they invented the first ever airplane that took flight across the rolling plains of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903.

If this story teaches us nothing else, it teaches us that perception is reality. Or as Pastor Chuck Swindoll once said, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” This explains how two people can see the exact same event and respond to it in two completely different ways – because of how they interpret what information flows across their brain. In other words, the filters through which we perceive life have a drastic impact on how our lives actually play out. These “filters” that help us navigate life’s twists and turns are known as “convictions.”

We all have convictions whether we know it or not. Some people have the conviction that their college football team is better than any other team in the country, some people rightfully have the conviction that Tex-Mex is the greatest food group ever invented, some people have the conviction that credit cards are evil while others haven’t paid in cash in years, and some people have the conviction that 1980’s rock is the greatest genre of music while others lean towards country music.

We all have various convictions over a wide breadth of topics, but regardless of what convictions we have towards politics, health, family, work, and so on, we all must be very careful to adopt accurate convictions towards God. This is indisputably the most important group of convictions we can possible have guiding our lives. Just take a look at Caleb from the book of Joshua to see what I’m talking about.

To get you up to speed to the part of the story I want to look at today, it’s important to know just exactly who Caleb is. Caleb was one of 12 spies that Moses sent into the Promised Land in Numbers 13 to explore the riches of the land. All 12 men saw the exact same things as they traveled together through the land for 40 days before returning to Moses and the Israelites. However, not all 12 men perceived the land in the same manner – 10 spies said the inhabitants of the land were too powerful and that their cities were too well fortified for the Israelites to overcome. Caleb and a young man named Joshua who later became Israel’s leader after Moses passed away both agreed that while the inhabitants may have been big and their cities may have been well guarded, the Lord would be able to deliver the inhabitants into the Israelites’ hands.

How did Caleb and Joshua come to this conclusion while the other 10 men whimpered in fear at the exact same sight? It’s easy, as Caleb reminisced on that decisive event 40 years later to his pal Joshua, he testified, “I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions,” (Joshua 14:7, NIV, bold mine).

Caleb saw the event through his convictions that the Lord was both willing and able to come to the Israelites’ aid. His convictions allowed him, much like the Wright brothers’, to see through the troubling circumstances and maintain hope. His convictions held firm and allowed him to stand through the fiercest of storms while the circumstances of those around him guided their behavior and caused them to buckle under the pressure. Caleb was over his circumstances because of his convictions about the Lord while the people were under their circumstances because they were not guided by proper convictions.

Doesn’t what Caleb had sound like something you want to have as well? The ability to see through whatever bad doctor’s report, stack of high bills, or jam-packed schedule to see a light at the end of the tunnel. The possibility to have this filter guiding your thoughts all starts and ends with your view of God. Do you, like Caleb, have the conviction that no matter how long, difficult, or unfathomable your situation is, the Lord is willing and able to pull you through it? If you do, the circumstances of your situation may not be any more pleasant, but the way you perceive it sure will. You will be like Caleb and Joshua who were able to stand in the face of giants, fortified cities, and an unbelieving crowd and still proclaim that they believed in a God who was big enough to engulf their problems and deliver them from all evil.

Now that’s a faith I want to mimic! And it all starts and ends with your convictions about the Lord.

What convictions do you have about God?

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?
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©Grant Gaines 2017


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