Mature Class Study, teacher Josh Olmsted.
The color of lenses in a pair of sunglasses affects our perception of how we see things. In the same way, different life experiences can create a different perception of what we see. Perception always comes before judgment. We need to allow Christ to change the lenses we see through so we have the proper judgment. There is an element of judgment regardless of people saying, I don’t judge. We all make judgments or form opinions about what we see. Parents may say they’re going to raise a proper child with good manners but will notice children are quick to judge and give their opinion about what they see. They make judgments without time spent maturing so their judgments lack wisdom. We need to be willing to let God change our perception. Perception is the process of using the senses to acquire information about a situation. It’s an observation, opinion, or assessment. Judgment evaluates the intake of our senses for our perception. We take perceptions of the information we process and come up with a judgment.
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
A baseball pitcher needs to have good people behind him. When people started looking at data in baseball games, they started moving players according to the batter’s hitting averages. It changed the game to be more complex because it’s based on perceptions. We live in a world of changes. Sixty years ago what we do with technology today would probably have been judged to be worldly. Today the internet lets people see a live church service from hundreds of miles away. Our perceptions of how we interact and how we treat people have changed over the years. How does God help us to interact with people as he desires? Sometimes we have to change our perception and how we judge.
The apostle Peter had to handle a situation where the Jewish Christians wanted to require the Gentile Christians to be circumcised. But circumcision was a Jewish tradition, not a Christian tradition. God only has certain things that are black and white. We need to be willing to change whatever God directs. People are afraid of change but the more we try to protect ourselves, the smaller we become. As we try to protect ourselves from being spiritually unclean, many times we will also be pushing people away from us. The more we protect ourselves, the more we push people away.
The workers the householder hired for a penny in the morning thought it was a fair wage at first. How the workers perceive the situation was how they judged their day. How long they worked affected how they felt about what they earned when they compared it to the workers that were hired later in the day. The workers hired in the morning changed how they felt about their wage. They thought the wage should be more if they worked more hours.
Matthew 20:1-2 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers…And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
Mathew 20:8-11 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,
How the worker perceived what was fair changed when others were hired later for the same wage but less hours. The devil use experiences like these to take advantage. He wants us to look through lenses that God doesn’t want us to. Brother Josh had a vision problem and didn’t know it until he was 12 years old. His dad told him to pick what he wanted from a menu on a wall but Josh said he didn’t know what he wanted. His dad told him to read the menu and decide but Josh couldn’t see to read it. He was able to get glasses to correct his vision and then could see clearly. His glasses gave him a different view and presented a new set of circumstances with his new appearance as he became a teenager.
In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-28), the talent of the one who hid his talent was given to the one who had the most talents. We have something called fairness. There will be times when God tells us to do something that may not seem fair in our opinion. It may seem like God was picking on Peter as a hungry man. God showed him a vision with many unclean animals and told him to eat. Peter refused at first and had to struggle with what God told him to do. God was preparing Peter to help the Gentiles and it had nothing to do with actually eating food. He had to change his thinking.
Acts 10:10-16 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
God may present things to us that may not seem right. We need to look at situations we face through the lenses of “let this mind be in you” and see it like Christ would. Just because someone is saved doesn’t mean we should do what they’re doing. Following what a group does may not be the right thing. When Jesus was eating with the Pharisees, a woman came in and anointed him with ointment. They said Jesus should have known what kind of woman touched him (Luke 7:36-39). They didn’t think it was right but they weren’t looking at things like Jesus. God isn’t afraid of cell phones or what we wear. We need to allow God to direct us, allow ourselves to be changed, and not judge anything too quickly – instead of protecting ourselves when God wants to do something with us.