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June 23, 2013

Perception

Over this past weekend, my son and I joined a group of nearly 30 men and their sons at Shenandoah River State Park for our bible study class' annual three-day river float and camping trip. A really great time was had by all each day on the river, the meals were phenomenal as always, and it was a new record high in number of attendees. We were very fortunate that the trip actually happened, though, due to heavy rains that fell during the middle of last week. According to several of the river gauges for this stretch of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, water levels rose five to six feet in a matter of hours. Although the water did recede fairly rapidly over the next couple of days, enough that we decided it was safe to carry on with the trip, the water remained stained throughout our time there and this served to negatively affect the fishing conditions.

Matthew 16:15-16 (NASB)
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

With the water being stained, and being slightly higher and moving a bit faster than normal, it served to throw off my perception of the river conditions and conceal locations where I would have otherwise casted for smallmouth bass. During the float, I often found myself thinking that we were drifting across large deep, dark holes with no rocks or structure beneath the surface, when in reality, most of the river was not over waist deep and rocks, riffles and ledges were located throughout the drift.

This experience reminded me of how our perception of Jesus Christ can significantly impact how we relate to Him. Is your perception of Christ that of a superior Holy Being? A distant creator? An impartial judge? A teacher? A good person? A stern father? Non-existent? What we continue to experience through our surroundings, relationships, trials, successes and failures all serve to shape our perception of the nature and demeanor of Christ. Sometimes that perception lines up with the description that the Bible gives us for His character, but many times it does not. Nevertheless, Christ does not change with our changing viewpoints of Him, just like the river's contour and structure did not change just because I could not see it.

On what are you basing your perception of Jesus Christ? I encourage you to validate your perception of Him with the timeless truths found in Scripture. - GE

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