There’s a lot on the internet about the word/term perception. As I looked around, I came across the familiar abbreviation “ESP.” That’s extrasensory perception, otherwise known as a gut feeling or a sixth sense. We might experience that sensation at some point, but I’ll leave that for someone more scientifically minded to delve into!
The type of perception I want to talk about comes from a passage in the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy 29, Moses talks to the Israelites about the miracles God has performed prior to their leaving Egypt as well as during their travels through the wilderness.
In verse 4, Moses says this to the Israelites. “Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.”
As I thought about that it struck me as a great tragedy that we would lack the ability to be aware of what’s really happening around us. Maybe we could even physically see it with our eyes or hear it with our ears, but wouldn’t be able to understand what is actually going on.
I know I want a heart that perceives, one that is spiritually conscious, emotionally sensitive, and realizes what needs to be done. Unlike the Israelites, I want to recognize when God is working and moving in the circumstances of life.
While perception is important in many areas, here are five for us to focus on.
We need perception in order to…
…notice the continual blessings of God.
Last week I had a medical test scheduled that I was anxious to have done. I showed up for the appointment – early even! – and was told that I was supposed to be at a different office location across town. The office personnel were very helpful and said they would try to fit me in there. Within just a few minutes, I was told that there had been a cancellation. I was able to go right in at my scheduled time and have the test done. One of the nurses said it was my lucky day, but I knew it wasn’t luck!
Every day the blessings of God surround us. But, if you’re like me, you can get so busy that you don’t notice them. May God give us the ability to perceive those blessings and give Him praise for them.
…encourage the hearts of our husband and children.
I specifically remember a couple of nights when I’ve gone to bed and then sensed that I needed to get up and go check on one of my girls. (Those teenagers stay up a lot later than I do!) It’s not easy because I crave my sleep! Yet I’ve come to believe that it’s usually the Holy Spirit prompting me to connect with them. In those specific instances, it truly was a moment that they needed to have conversations with me that were much more important than the missed sleep!
Often, if we’re paying attention, we can sense that something is wrong with our husband or children. I’m sure I’ve missed some opportunities in the past. But we can pray that God will give us hearts to perceive what our family members need so we can come alongside and uplift them.
…root out sinful habits in our own lives.
Psalm 66:18 says that if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord won’t hear me. If we indulge in known sin and aren’t willing to repent, our prayer life is affected.
We need to deal with sin swiftly. This requires humility on our part, a willingness to admit that we fail God and do our own thing often. Job says, “How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin.” [13:23] We need a heart like that so we can perceive our sin and seek forgiveness.
…minister to the needs of others around us.
This one hits close to home. I’m often too self-focused to perceive the needs of others. Philippians 2:4 reminds us to care about what’s going on in people’s lives. If we have a heart that can perceive those needs, then God can use us to meet them.
There are many false teachers today, and likely there always have been. Sometimes it’s easy to be swayed by the arguments of men. Yet how vital it is that we base everything we believe on the Word of God. Listening to what “tickles our ears” may make us feel good, but if it’s not truth, we can easily be led astray. We need to ground ourselves in Scripture and ask the Holy Spirit to give us insight that will keep us on the right path.
May God graciously give us hearts to perceive in these five areas – and even more – as we seek to live in a way that honors Him.
- In the Midst of Change, Here’s Who God Is to Me Today
- 8 Ways to Know if We Have Godly Wisdom
- 5 Daily Practices for the Christian Woman