I used to see squirrels as cute creatures. Like other people, I enjoyed watching these tame animals scamper around park grounds, leap from bough to branch of a tree, or enjoy the adoration and hospitality of children. On occasion, I’d even feed them nuts or scraps from my picnic fare.
As far as I was concerned, squirrels were fully paid up members of an acceptable community of creatures (unlike flying ants, snakes or spiders). That was until I read that they came from the rodent family. All of a sudden, my perspective changed. I now saw these creatures as giant rats with bushy tails. In my heart and mind they were re-classified as vermin. And, when I became a gardening enthusiast, well that was it! I disliked them even more and promptly added them to my personal category of “mega-annoying animals”.
Just like that, my positive perspective of squirrels changed to a negative one. Knowledge contributed to that change.
Did you know that knowledge of God can alter your perception of any adverse situation you may be facing? Not head knowledge (mere mental assent) but heart knowledge, revelation knowledge.
God desires that we “know” Him (i.e. become intimately acquainted with him). John 17:3 reveals that eternal life is knowing the only true God and his Son, Jesus Christ, whilst Daniel 11:32b declares that those who know their God will be strong and carry out great exploits for Him. I like to think of some of those exploits as something prayer warriors accomplish – either conducting bold combative resistance against the Enemy of our souls, or presenting passionate petitions to our Father in the court room of Heaven.
Whatever difficulty we may be facing in our lives, or whatever circumstance we may be enduring, we need the strength of God to be able to overcome and emerge a victor.
If you are in a good place right now (experiencing no distressing worries), then wonderful! Great! Why not use your spiritual strength to encourage, pray for and support others? Is there a colleague, a neighbour, a friend or family member who is ill? In debt? Experiencing an insurmountable problem? Can you come alongside them and help? Will you show them the compassion and love of Jesus by supporting them with your prayers and intercession?
If you are already doing this – excellent! Continue the great work.
I faced a situation a little while back, where someone sought to unjustly penalise and discredit me. It undermined my peace. I called upon my best friend and her husband to stand with me in prayer. They also enlisted the help of their prayer group.
Fear and negativity had skewed my perspective regarding my circumstances. However, these godly friends were able to share scriptures with me, which changed that perspective. They could not have done this without their own knowledge of God, gained through their personal relationship with him. They could not have done this without a knowledge of his Word. And I could not have accepted the rhema* word God gave to me through them, I could not have been comforted and strengthened, if I had not previously acquired personal knowledge of his attributes, loving nature and character.
“The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don’t have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it.” Chris Pine
Just suppose you were drowning and someone dived in to help you, someone whom you knew could not swim and had a fear of water, would you be confident that person could save you? Now substitute that individual with someone whom you know to be a champion swimmer and your perspective of the predicament you are in changes. Your confidence in his/her ability to help you, perhaps even save your life, increases.
Similarly, in times of trouble, your experiential knowledge of God, gained through intimate acquaintance with him will make all the difference as to whether you sink below your problems, wade/swim fearlessly through them, or should the occasion demand, allow Father God to rescue you. Furthermore, what you triumphantly overcome today, equips and enables you to help others tomorrow.
God promises: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you… (Isaiah 43:2a)
Dear reader, let me ask you something: how well do you know God? What steps are you taking to increase your knowledge of him?
* Rhema = a specific promise from the Word of God, brought to mind by the Holy Spirit