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Perception at a Deeper Level


If you are a neurologist your understanding of our five primary senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste) will be much deeper than mine. In fact, you will quickly argue that Aristotle’s original list of five senses is now very incomplete. Maybe so, but it was still quite advanced for his day.


Too often, our lives rarely go much beyond the big five. We get discouraged if we can’t ‘see’ the results. We dream about what we ‘saw’ and now want. We look around and scan the horizons for something ‘out there’ to make us feel happier ‘in here.’ We walk by sight so often. We keep ‘listening’ for feedback to affirm us. We crave for explanations to tie the loose ends of a crisis together. We want to put our finger directly on the exact cause and ‘touch’ it. We want to savour the sweet taste of blessing and success right here and now.


And all of that is only natural. Natural - but is it spiritual? The Apostle Paul enjoyed another ‘sense’ – a deeper perception. In fact, he lumped all the things that can be seen in our life as merely transient; and the things we cannot see, he classified as permanently eternal. If he depended only on the prism of the five senses to explain his life, he would have called it quits years earlier.


He could see the scowls on the faces of his family when he trusted Christ. He could see fierce religious hostility growing. He saw and felt the waves each time the ship he was sailing in was wrecked. Perhaps he tasted the salty Mediterranean water as he bobbed on the sea for a night and a day. He could feel the lashes on his back, as well as the hunger pains. He could hear people talking against him – including Christians he had previously led to faith in Christ. He could smell trouble brewing.


If Paul just had those five senses, he would have despaired and given up. After all, he was just a frail human vessel – a fragile jar of clay.


But Paul had more than sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. He had a deeper perception that enabled him to enjoy things that could not be seen or touched. He didn’t need explanations for the here and now. He didn’t have to have the answers to the riddles or the paradoxes of life. He didn’t have to hold a piece of paper in his hand and put his index finger on one paragraph and say: “There it is. There’s the reason.”


Every day Paul ensured the Spirit of God was renewing, refreshing and refurbishing his own spirit deep within him. He daily walked closely with God. There was an intimate connection and his inner spirit was nourished by the indwelling Holy Spirit. This daily inner renewal enabled Paul to perceive his reality in light of eternity - which cannot be seen with natural eyes. This deep, daily work going on inside Paul enabled him to happily serve the Risen Christ each day - despite what seemed like overwhelming opposition against him.


This is the reason why we never collapse.
The outward man does indeed suffer wear and tear,
but every day the inward man receives fresh strength.
These little troubles (which are really so transitory)
are winning for us a permanent, glorious and solid reward out of all proportion to our pain.
For we are looking all the time not at the visible things but at the invisible.
The visible things are transitory: it is the invisible things that are really permanent.”
2Corinthians 4:16-18 (JBP)

Only a Spirit-nourished inner man could ever call Paul’s troubles ‘little’. Without that deep inner work going on daily, no Christian would ever be able to call their troubles ‘little’. Only the heart focused on God and trusting Him fully to work out His eternal purposes can rise above the circumstances of life.


Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.
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