Cal Jernigan – Senior Pastor
We’ve all heard the expression, “Perception is reality.” The idea behind this is whatever people think something “is,” therefore it actually “is.” Control the perception and you control the conclusions that people reach. While this thinking is extremely common and even smacks of logic, it simply isn’t true. Despite what you have been told, perception is not reality. Reality is reality. Reality is what is true; perception is what others try to convince you is true. There is often a huge difference between these.
Because this understanding of perception is so ubiquitous and unchallenged, people are spending more and more time seeking to manipulate perception rather than bothering to deal with the truth. In the past this kind of deception was simply known as “propaganda,” and we were trained to be on our guard against it. When’s the last time you actually thought about what someone led you to think about something? Think about it now!
Why does this matter? These days’ people are spending more time than ever managing their image. Facebook has given us our own page and we invite people into our lives in ways never before possible. Our photos, schedules, vacation experiences, memories and dreams are all shared with “friends” who care to look. What conclusions will people reach about you when they see all of this? What do you want them to think about you?
One of the most significant lessons my mentor and predecessor at Central, LeRoy Lawson, taught me was, “Be more than you seem to be.” In other words, allow people to be surprised the more and more they get to know you. Don’t oversell yourself. Don’t hype your image. The sad reality is that many people are less than they appear to be. They don’t live up to their propaganda. The more time you spend with them, the less and less you are drawn to them. They were incredible at giving off a great “first impression,” but the more you look, the less you like.
Again, why does this matter? Jesus taught us that “the truth will set us free.” By comparison, deception “binds” us. It places us in a trap of which we can’t escape. We have an image to maintain. Yet God always sees us as we really are–in our “authentic” state. He knows us without pretense, disguise, or deception. He is never fooled by appearances or perceptions we’ve created. This is the only place he will meet us. This is the only place we can begin to grow into “more than we seem to be.” When we deceive others about who we really are, we live in a prison of our own making—far away from the presence of the true God. It is from this prison that Jesus wants to set us free.
So, next time you spend time with God. Get real. Get really real. This is where your freedom in Christ begins. When you come clean with God, you realize there is no reason to spend time deceiving others. You are then set free to be the real you. And that’s reality!Click here for the photo credit on this post