“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist,” says actor Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects.
Perception is everything to us. But do you think the devil doesn’t exist because you don’t perceive him?
The devil wants us to believe that he and his fallen angels aren’t real. He wants us to believe there is no such thing as spiritual warfare.
And he most certainly doesn’t want us to know about spiritual perception. God brought all of this to my attention as I studied Scripture this week.
So what is spiritual perception? It is the only way we are to effectively and righteously judge others.
Oh yes, God allows us to judge others. So why does it say otherwise in Scripture?
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Matthew 7:1-2)
As humans, we are limited by what we perceive. And because we are limited by our own perceptions, we are unable to righteously and fairly judge as God does.
In fact, God provided instruction in the Old Testament on a suitable means of judging others because of our limitations. We are to have witnesses.
“A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed. (Deuteronomy 19:15)
Your friend might make a comment that is offensive, but it wasn’t offensive to anyone else in the conversation. In this case, there would only be one witness to the offense… and that’s you.
But if two people testified to the offense, then there would be two witnesses. God wants there to be two or more witnesses to protect all of us from one another.
He wants to protect us from selfish desires and sin against each other. Because even one witness’s perception can persuade another to falsely testify.
Ever have family members form an alliance against you based on one side of the story? This is occurring in my own family right now.
My father and mother divorced seven years ago, but there is still a lot of vicious words, judgements, and opinions made based on my father’s testimony. These family members have unrighteously risen up against my mother with only one witness as proof.
Maybe it’s not a family member that is falsely accusing you or someone you know. Maybe it’s a friend or a coworker that has persuaded others to go against you.
As Christians, we are called to a higher standard. We are called to know of the devil’s existence, of the spiritual warfare we face, and the temptation to judge on limited insight.
And he will delight in the fear of the Lord, and he will not judge by what his eyes see, nor make a decision by what his ears hear. (Isaiah 11:3)
Seeking His Truth
Humans are subjected to emotions, feelings, thoughts, and senses. This is where spiritual warfare exists… with our perceptions.
Which means we all have limited understanding, regardless of how many witnesses there are. It leads me to ask if there is a better, more complete way of judging others despite our limitedness?
And the answer is yes! Jesus, in fact, introduces us to the concept of spiritual perception.
But even if I do judge, My judgement is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent me. (John 8:16)
Jesus claimed to have God the Father as His second witness. This means that we also have God as our second witness to unrighteousness.
And so, we are able to judge based on God’s understanding, knowledge, and truth. We have a witness that is not limited in any way.
We have God to help us fight against human perceptions by leaning on His true testimony. But let me be clear about one thing: even if we are justified through God’s testimony, we are not justified to punish with evil!
Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah saying, “Thus has the Lord of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another. (Zechariah 7:8-9)
Even if God has given us the authority to dispense justice, we are to do so with kindness and compassion. Justice can only be true when there is the absence of evil.
So when someone is punishing you with hateful words and actions, they are not of God. They are under the influence of the one who has pulled the greatest trick in all of the world.
Therefore, do not form conclusions based on what you see or hear. And more importantly, don’t judge and administer justice without first consulting God.
Leaning On Him
If you find yourself under persecution, He is there for you. If you feel tempted to take offense and retaliate, He is waiting for you to seek His righteous perception and guidance.
Click Here for this free printable!
So ask Him for it. Ask to receive His wisdom on the trial you are currently facing.
Lean on Him and trust in His understanding. He will reveal His wisdom to you if you truly desire it.
Dealing With Persecution
And while you undergo persecution, here are 3 ways to help you resist temptation:
Cast all your frustrations, worries, and hurts on God (1 Peter 5:7), pray for and bless those who falsely accuse you (Matthew 5:44), and ask God to overwhelm you with His peace in order to see you through this persecution (John 14:27).
Meditate on good things instead of the problem (Philippians 4:8), delight in God and the work He has done in your life (Psalm 37:4), and praise Him for never forsaking you as you trust in Him (Psalm 9:10).
3. Put On
Soldiers for Christ are expected to don the full armor of God and use the one weapon He has issued to us: the sword of the Spirit [Scripture] (Ephesians 6:10-18). Along with this, we should not take matters into our own hands because God is sovereign over all matters (Psalm 127:2).
Click Here for this free printable!
Understanding Spiritual Warfare
If you do believe the devil exists, then it’s imperative that you acknowledge spiritual warfare. And we must understand that God has not left us to fend for ourselves.
He given us His armor, His weapon, and His instructions all detailed in Scripture. Our job is to utilize everything He has given us and to constantly rely on His spiritual perception to help us discern His will versus the devil’s will.
For more on spiritual warfare and how the devil uses our thought-life and emotions to tempt us, I highly recommend Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind:
It has opened my eyes to the real war we face! And it’s a great resource of compiled information from Scripture on how to fight in this war.
And don’t forget to lean on God for truth and understanding. He is our greatest judge and our greatest vindicator!
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Post Question: Are you undergoing persecution because of someone’s false perception? Comment below!
Singer, B. (Director). (1995). The usual suspects [Motion picture].