It's been 8 years since the Lord Jesus Christ shared his thoughts with me, and taught me his ways which gave birth to "Perception and the believer". I've gone through some really hard trials and tribulations since its inception. My goal on this web site is to share them. I will try to take you step by step through my experiences. I learned something important about life and through it, everything we experience is an opportunity for spiritual growth. When I started on this journey, it was because I could not make heads nor tail why, after spending so much money and time on ministry and people my internet audience was larger than my local congregation. I started by asking my friends and organization leaders why. The answers they gave me didn't satisfy what we burdening in me. I felt alone pastoring a church as I was taught, I'm not saying I didn't feel God when I preached, taught or made a decision in the church. I really did. Everything I did, from the training center to the pews was me connecting with the Lord to see things and shape them as I saw them. The church was beautiful.
I felt empty. Like there was really more out there. Over the course of my prayer and fasting I was able to capture the thoughts of God. In them was peace. I no longer hear the echoes of my own thoughts. I will do my best to describe what I saw and sensed. It started with me coming to prayer 3 times a day, seeking but not knowing what. I wanted change. One day while in evening prayer I felt really tired. I didn't like what I was experiencing or what I was thinking about struggles at work and in ministry. I begin to pursue God's thoughts. I no longer wanted the thoughts I was having. So I begin to pray with that very goal in mind and after many hours it happened. I will try to explain what it felt like using an experience you've had in the natural.
Try to quiet your thoughts. You know not think about anything. Try it for 30 seconds if you can. Now keep trying, over and over and over. Impossible isn't it. What happened to me praying to him, as my eyes were filled with tears, is that my thoughts stopped. The struggles I felt in my body were gone. The stress and pressures of life were gone. I didn't feel them any longer. It was beautiful in was felt in all my human senses. The lighting in the room was different; the sounds I heard were different. I felt a strong disconnect from the things around me and as I drew my focus on thinking and seeing things as God does, it happened.
I'm getting off the subject and talking about how Perception and the Believer was born in me. We will talk about that later. Let's get back to my job and how my struggles became an opportunity for spiritual growth.
I went on this journey to get answers. I didn't know what to ask or what was going on. I needed something. That is, to find out who I was or what is my purpose in life and ministry? And Lord why was I called to live in a part of the world/United States where it has the lowest church attendance in the nation. Why was I called to come here Lord? There's got to be a reason and where is the answer. With the Lord it was more about proving me, wiping me clean and giving me a new heart.
Embarking on this journey in God made the Devil angry and lots of folks with him. What the Lord was teaching me was not well received by the church as a whole, nor those interested in spiritual growth. The Lord told me that it would not be well received because of how the mind is wired and how beliefs are formed.
But let me get back to my job and the struggles there.
I spent 9 hours a day in a living hell. At first I believed my struggles where with my boss and a co-worker. That would be true if the Lord had not show me his perceptions of what was truly going on. It is difficult to see things as God does when what I already know is easily accessible. My struggles was no longer with men. I was no longer wrestling with flesh and blood. It wasn't about my feelings because others talked about me. Nor that feeling we get when someone constantly bullies us. That's not the kind of struggle or battle I was in. Because of seeking to see a problem as Christ would I found my own thought my enemy. My struggles were not with men.
I grew up in a home where my dad would yell all the time. He had this loud deep baritone voice that commanded attention and everybody listens when he speaks. As a little kid, my friends and the teenagers in the neighborhood feared him. I found out later that Detroit was full of people who knew and feared my dad. I feared my dad, not just because of his voice, but because he had a mean belt arm. He could hit so hard, just once, that it would take the sting out of the remaining beatens where I almost feel nothing; but I would cry and yell anyway hoping that it would lesson the blows or end the beatings. I'm telling you this story because how you and I was raised affect our decisions in life, how we see God and form decisions, perceptions and behaviors.
These memories came back to me when my boss would come to work complaining, yelling or his friend and now my co-workers begin cursing, throwing keyboards and another one using profanity like he was still in the military. It was a really hostile work environment. Now you are probably asking, why didn't you leave?
My answer is in a desire to please God, know his ways and walk in them. The scripture that held me back from leaving guided my thinking about how to approach leaving, I will paraphrase "I must acknowledge the Lord in everything I do, trust in him, he will direct my paths and he will make my desires come to pass.
That drove me to prayer. I went to the Lord about leaving, seeking his voice and making sure that my own desires, wants overshadow or speak louder than the Lord's voice. I discovered that the Lord will deliver us, but he will not struggle with you if you won't listen. You can be saved and eventually your heart grow far from him. This happens more often than you think with believers. Why, because every single moment in life you are making decisions. When you answer something or make a decision here and there they build knowledge and experiences. You store them as memories. You recall them to make other decisions in life. The reactions to those memories shape us, affect our relationship with Christ, shape our perceptions about everything we connect with.
The Lord replied to me in a way that both excited me and caused pain, the Lord replied by saying, "There is something I want to show you of myself, it cannot be learned any other way". The excitement was because He answered me and says he is going to show me something. That's great right? Then the part that was painful is in the idea that I must not leave. Believe me I tried. I even started college to get the skills I need to leave. That is another testimony of Spiritual growth, combined with this example.
I stayed. Crying out to God, crying out to others; hoping, struggling to understand why. I said to myself, well maybe he didn't me today. So I applied at other jobs. A successful interview, sometimes a second interview. Some called and said they loved me, but never gave me the job. Others I never heard from them again. Lord promised me something and prevent me from leaving. He kept me. My heart was constantly split in two, wanting to leave and wanting to stay. If I stay, I learn about God and how he thinks and the secrets of his ways and many things I don't know of him and if I leave, then the struggles here are gone. Then I think of what unforeseen struggles lay ahead. One other thing I learned about God. If he promises something to you, you will get it. But before you do, you have to learn something about him that will shape your perceptions and cause you to respond to certain events in life differently.
Lord, I ask, where are these negative thoughts coming from? Why do I feel twisted and in bondage here at work? Why am I hearing my father's voice when my boss yells and why do I feel like crawling into a corner and never coming out while this is happening? Why is every thought saying the worse things to me?
When you want to understand how God thinks and what he believes you can most certainly see them in how he answers your responses. He is an example. I had a hot temper growing up. As you can see my experiences with my dad as the cause. I experienced the belt often and it felt like I was getting in trouble for every little thing. So I grew up constantly criticizing myself, putting myself down because that's what I felt was important to my dad. That maybe if I do this or do that I wouldn't get spanked today. That criticism became part of how I made decisions as a believer. It was so bad that if someone else stole something, I would feel guilty. I was always worried about what people thought of me. Just so my dad would not spank me. I would not have know these things were in me, if I had not gone through this trial and tribulation; and if I had not been seeking the mind of God and his ways while going through this test.
I found myself wrestling with the unseen. It wasn't the people around me that treated me bad. Nor the saint of God taking advantage of me, nor the desire to do good but pain follows, nor is it the co-worker who makes my job a living nightmare. No they can't affect my belief in Christ. They don't tell me how I should feel and respond to them. It was me. I was something in me. It was my experiences, my knowledge that was driving me and providing me with answers. It was my experiences and memories that assembled the story for me and gave me a memory to respond to that problem. That thought was telling me how to think, see, hear, sense and respond to my environment. It forms what I see. It creates my perceptions. It shapes me and forms my behaviors.
My thinking, the unseen thing made it difficult for me to believe God.
It was the thoughts in my head that made things difficult. I guess it wouldn't matter to me so much if my desire wasn't to please God. I wanted to know how he would answer a problem. So I waited for him to show me, to teach me, which translated in me taking the abuse from folks while patiently listening, sensing Jesus Christ to give me directions. Yes it was hard to come to work everyday and to be tortured by a supervisor and co-worker.
I am one of those people who hold stuff in. I have a really good memory and pretty much remember what someone does to me for a long time; and usually memories of the pain follows; my body reliving all that my thoughts think through.
Everything I saw, heard, felt and experienced translated into the worse kind of beliefs and thoughts. Where are these thoughts coming from. Where they always with me. Are they the reason I'm not experiencing the blessing described in God's word?
Everyday my boss would yell, complaint about everything and bring a lot of his personal business to work. Profanity was constantly in the air. No restraint, no professionalism in the workplace. For me, it was more important to keep my integrity in God and not give it up by responding in a way that displeases Christ. My lack of participation caused my boss to say things like I don't trust you; you are a liar; I am disappointed in you. So I struggled with myself and my thinking to ensure I don't respond in a way that offend the Lord. Most often I found that my appropriate response to God offended my co-workers.
I was not afraid of him and I did not want my temper causing me to harm him. I felt alone everyday, waiting for the moment God moves on my behalf and give me what he promised. No matter what I did outside of work, it never changed what was happening at the job. Instead things grew more difficult. I've been working there 3 years now, I should have some friends now or someone I can talk too. Every person I spoke to about what was happening eventually told Michael my boss, which responded to me in worse ways. I didn't know who to trust. Image working everyday in a job God made promises he would bless you in but things are growing worse.
The trials and tribulations continued for a total of seven years. The Lord is long suffering and merciful.
Salvation from God, wisdom from God and the ability to see as he sees can only be acquired when a saint challenges their own thinking. Being transformed by the renewing of your mind is not simply thinking differently. There has to be a change in the persons core. The Holy Ghost which is the Spirit of God is stronger than I. He knows the will, mind and ways of God. His job is to teach them to me. But there are rules. Knowing the rules is the difference between seeing and answering your problems the way God does or seeing and answering your problems as you do.
Humbling ones self before God in any situation is only the first step. The definition of humility that we use is not the same one God uses. His ways are not ours, neither are our thoughts his. The distance from earth to heave is shorter than the distance between our thoughts and God's thoughts. Humility to man is lowering oneself. Lowering oneself is a sign of respect and so forth. That's hug wash with God. Your lower than God the day you were born. So that definition is a lie. Humility in God is more about change and all that is encapsulated in the process of change.
Humility in God looks like this.
- I react to a certain situation this way.
- I always respond that way to that situation.
- Although it's normal and everybody does it, I wonder if that's appropriate in the site of God.
- Let me test it.
- If I do this and that what outcomes come from my responses?
- What does God's word say should be my experience?
- Okay I responded Lord, doing what I believed you showed me.
- Now comes the waiting, the outcome...
A side note here. Everything we do in life, every action or non action produces an outcome. If your heart is beating, you are being rewarded by God with a blessing or a curse. If you obey him, you are blessed. If you do not obey him, you are cursed. Deuteronomy 28th charter says that God sent a blessing and a curse to the earth and that both are working in the earth for or against men, women and children.
The reason everyone is receiving the outcomes that experience is because the are reaping what they have sown. If I act or respond differently than my community, I will experience something different than before. If I follow along with everyone else, I gain the rewards and losses as everyone else. If everyone else is preparing to drive off a cliff and I decide its not a good idea. Just because they have been planning the cliff jumping thing for years doesn't make it right in God's eyes.
I felt it important to began to examine my own thoughts and to go to Christ to teach me a different way to remember things, see them differently, respond to them appropriately in a way that please God and be watchful, making corrections as I hear more of his voice and see and sense his ways.
God bless you, I will say more in other articles. I am sure I didn't cover everything.
Pastor William A King Jr.