“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.” “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
An article I recently read spoke about “mental models which are used “to view the world.” It went on to say, “These mental models are not reality. They are tools used to view reality. They are our perspective on life.”
These “mental models,” if I understood correctly, beliefs we have regarding anything and everything. For example, I you believe that pretty people are successful, and that you are not pretty, then you will see life as a failure. People have these beliefs of just about everything in their lives. Whether your belief about something is distorted, then your responses to those beliefs will produce results which are also not beneficial to you. The problem, as I believe the writer of the article was aiming at, is that tend to look to models which are not to our benefit and often not true. This leads to the next step in the process, we start to understand reality in an incorrect manner. People do what they do, because they believe what they believe.
God created Adam with a healthy perspective of what is real. After he disobeyed, he and Eve lost their healthy perspective of reality, because they now saw themselves as failures. And, due to their actions, the virus of “Sin” was passed on to the rest of us. As the writer of the article said, “We are each operating from a faulty mental model.” The writer noted that one way to check our perspective, to see how healthy it is by comparing it to other perspectives. The first on the list was God’s perspective. “We need to compare our mental models to God’s mental model.” The writer then pointed out that, “Only God’s mind is perfect.” Those of us who believe in a God, can more easily accept the concept that God is perfect. By this we mean that God is incapable of doing wrong, erring, failing, making mistakes, and all those kinds of things. Perfection in God’s case means flawless and without fault. The Bible uses the word “perfect” in regards to others as well, for example Noah (Genesis 6:9), an animal used for a “sacrifice of peace offering (Leviticus 22:21), Asa’s Heart (1 Kings 15:14), Job (Job 1:1), and finally, Lucifer (Ezekiel 28:15). There are also other uses for this word in the Bible, but I will limit myself to these because they fit in the context of this article. When the Bible used the word “perfect” regarding these last examples, it is never meant to be understood as perfect in the same sense as God. The “perfection” of created beings will never achieve equality with the perfection of God. God is perfect, but those other references can easily be understood as translations which more actually meant something like were righteous, obeyed, or as in Lucifer’s case, perfect of the purpose. This is why we must compare our perspectives (mental models) initially with that of God’s, so that we can have the perfect model to try to emulate.
As we compare our personal perspective with that of the Lord, we can see where we need to work on our perspectives to align them better with His.
As well, as the writer points out, we need to, “compare our mental model with other’s to see if we are on track.” We must, I hope it’s obvious, to remember that everyone is different, so therefore, they will have different perspectives of the world. With this in mind, it is important we search for others who are like-minded, those who tend to see the world similarly as we do. In Ephesians 4:13 (NASB), “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” This verse supports the argument that unity in Christ means believing the same things. When we surround ourselves with like-minded believers in Christ, we are ourselves sustained and encouraged. Our perspectives will tend to meld with those of other believers who see life as we do, and this results in a stronger “mental model” But, the writer of the article did warn, “If you share something personal with someone who thinks radically different than you it only leads to frustration.” Have you ever tried to argue with someone who is convinced of what they believe? If you have, you realized that it was not easy, and more so, it could lead to a more serious confrontation. But, arguments are not the point of this emphasis, spending time listening to someone whose world perspective differs greatly with your can have the result of changing your perspective. If the change is toward the positive, that’s good, but if the change tends toward the negative, this could be dangerous.
Men like Jim Jones, who over time convinced over 900 persons that He was the Christ, eventually led them to all kill themselves with poison. The persuasion of his was not over night, he took years with some of those people. Lies are not always obvious or clear. The writer of the article said this, “If you aren’t sure ask God what the truth is about someone.” You may not get a verbal and immediate response, but the Lord will get it across to you that this is or is not someone you want to spend time with, much less listen to their arguments. Many times, the way to identify the right or wrong in others is to be aware of the right or wrong in ourselves. How can we best do this? The writer of the article made some great points, “Also ask God what the truth about yourself is and believe what He tells you. Write down the things He tells you and review them often. God will tell you the truth about everything. He will tell you what the truth is about everyone in your life.”
I am going to take this a step further. Ask God the truth about yourself. How does He see you? What does He believe you need to change or improve? What areas are there in which you need to grow? Then, write them down. Take about a month and listen for His still small voice. He could speak to you from a preacher, preaching a sermon. He could speak to you from an angry person who is telling you what’s wrong with you. He could speak to you from a TV show you are watching. He could speak to you during prayer, worship, and/or praising Him. In any case, listen and you will hear Him. Once you have your list completed, review the list. Then ask Him on which item you should begin working. As you work on this list, your perspective will focus on the fact that you are working at obeying God’s will in your life, instead of your own. The benefits are numerous, but I Will give you one with which to begin. Learning to love others. The writer of the article put it this way, “We are to love every person in our lives. God may tell you to love some people from a distance and just pray for them. Do whatever God tells you to do. Just make sure it’s from Him. 1 Corinthians 2:16 (NASB), says, “For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.” When you were saved by our gracious Savior, He put into you the Mind of Christ. This means that you now have the capability of understanding things from a heavenly and divine perspective. The reason so many believers still struggle, is that they have not yet made a decision of what reality really is. For example, we will in a real world. This is a real statement of fact. So therefore we must interact with this material world. This is true, right? But notice this verse, John 15:19 (NASB), “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” Did you get it? We (believers of Jesus Christ) are not of this world. We are aliens, in a sense. We are not like everyone else on earth, we have the eternal God above living inside of us though His Holy Spirit. Christians are the only people on earth who make this claim, No other religion has this mental model, this perspective. When we were saved we were also recreated into new “creatures,” or beings, if you will. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NASB), says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” Do you see? This is not just gaining some new perspective or mental model. This actually means we have been converted by God into different kind of humans, sort of like what Jesus became after He rose again from the dead. Therefore, we are not to have a new mental model, or perspective, because we believe differently, we are to believe differently because we are new beings, new creations of God, which are different from others on the earth. We are citizens of the new kingdom of God, we are only residents here in the United States, or whatever country we live in. We are now just visitors.
With all of this in mind, we must learn to be these new creatures, and think in that manner, and respond in that manner. Remember that what we do does not decide who we are, but who we are decides what we do. People do what they do, because they believe what they believe. To get that last part right, we must focus on learning to hear God’s voice. We need His leading and knowledge. The writer of the article made some last point, “Knowledge from God brings peace and resonates in your spirit as truth.” For example, on the point I made earlier about loving others, notice the writer’s perspective on this, “Don’t think too deeply about other people and their problems. They aren’t our responsibility. Leave them in God’s hands. Love them the best you can but don’t get sucked into other people’s problems. Pray the best for them and let God handle it. All we need to do is whatever God tells us to do and nothing more.” If we would follow these instructions, we would never find ourselves being taken advantage of by others. We would have healthier relationships with other people, and, most of all, we would be obeying God.
One last point, right is not always right. You may consider something, decide that it is right and okay, and even convince yourself of its correctness. Yes, we must always consider doing the right thing, for the right reason, but what if you read something from the Word of God which tells you to do differently? You may be one of those people who believe that any taking of a life is wrong. You may convince yourself that even if someone you love was in mortal danger, you would not take the perpetrator’s life to save your loved one. But if you love life so much, you must also love your loved one’s life enough to take any action, even causing the death of someone who is attempting to take the life of your loved one. If you take no action, you violate your belief that all life is valuable. At certain times, right and wrong is just not as clear as all of that. But, as believers of the One God, we can come to the understanding, yes, take on His perspective that sometimes a life has to be lost to save another. This is what Jesus did. He did not want to die, but He wanted to obey the Father. The same God who, in the Old Testament, often sent the Israelites to destroy whole nations. He knew that this was necessary, because God is all knowing. He knew what would happen if they were not removed from the scene. We may feel differently from God on this subject, as well as with others, but we must never forget the verse I listed at the beginning of this discourse. Isaiah 55:8-9 (NASB), “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” With the mind of Christ, we can come to a better understanding of much of God’s Word. We can also come to understand and even accept those decisions of our Lord’s which we may emotionally disagree. Keep in mind that He ability to think and decide is so beyond our comprehension, that is we tell ourselves that we full understand some decision of His, He still has more to say on the subject than we have concluded. Let’s learn to trust Him on every point and subject. Let’s allow His mental model (perspective) to so influence our own that we sort of get lost in His, and become more like Him in all things, so that He will also call us “perfect.”