I am convinced that the way we perceive God has one of the most important effects on the way we relate to Him and how we relate to others.
To delve into this idea, I would like to share with you a text from the book of Luke in the Bible and make some observations about it:
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.
She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.
But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.
She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.
Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
I would like to answer the question of what most affects my relationship with God and others, with three observations on how our relationship with God and others is affected by our perception of Him.
A trusting relationship with Jesus
The first observation from our text is that Martha and Mary had a trusting relationship with Jesus.
Reading between the lines, we can see how Jesus could get to their home and rest if he was on his way.
After a careful look, we can see in the story that the main reason Jesus came to that house was not that he wanted to be cared for, but because he wanted to spend time with that family.
His desire was based on the love he felt for them, and the joy that their company brought him.
An important part of our perception of God is influenced by the fact that we have a trusting relationship with Him.
So the first thing I’d like is for you to ask yourself a series of questions:
- Do I have a trusting relationship with Jesus?
- Do I understand that He is my best friend?
- Do I understand that no one loves, accepts, and understands me like Him?
- Do I feel comfortable telling Him my sorrows, struggles, weaknesses, longings, dreams, joys?
- Do I feel comfortable asking for the things I want, whatever it is?
If your answer to those questions was not positive, then you need to ponder the idea that it is not only our perception of God that affects our relationship with Him; but, more than anything, to have a correct perception of God you need to build a trusting relationship with Him.
Our perception of Jesus affects the way we related to Him and others
The second point I’d like to make is that although both people had trusting relationships with Jesus, their perception of Him was different, and that affected the way they related to Him and each other.
On the one hand, Martha saw Jesus as her Lord rather than as her teacher and personal friend.
She saw him primarily as someone illustrious and important who was to be served and cared for.
And although this was fine, and she was concerned about doing him the best service, the reaction that this perception of Jesus produced is that she did not allow herself to know him closely.
If Martha’s perception had been closer, her reaction would have been different.
Had she known him closely, she would have known that Jesus did not expect complicated preparations but simple attention.
Therefore, everything she did, and what concerned her, was not what was necessary or important to Jesus.
It wasn’t what Jesus wanted from his visit.
Have you experienced that it is not easy for you to draw near to God because you perceive Him as distant to you?
Martha’s distant perception of Jesus makes her come to doubt his character.
We can see this when she reproaches him for not correcting Mary.
If Martha’s perception of Jesus had been closer, she would have known him better and there would have been no reproaches.
Now, it follows from this observation that Martha’s perception of Jesus, at the time, was affecting her relationship with Mary.
Martha doesn’t seem to understand her sister’s priorities because her personal priorities were different.
This leads her to accuse Mary of wasting her time, of being irresponsible or lazy.
On the other hand, Mary’s perception of Jesus made her see him as her teacher and friend; beyond the fact that He was their Lord.
She sees him close.
This is why she was more concerned than anything else with being close to Him and learning from Him.
Now from this second observation comes the question: do you perceive God as someone distant or as someone close?
I think that’s the key to making your relationship with God like Mary’s with Jesus.
Narrow and close.
Our perception of Jesus changes our priorities
Finally, my third observation would be that Martha’s perception of Jesus makes her priorities in life need to be reoriented.
It is for this reason that Jesus reorients Martha’s vision of life and priorities by telling her, “only one thing is necessary” (at that time).
I would like you to ask yourself a few questions:
- How many times do we have the opportunity to be close to Jesus and miss it because of life’s worries?
- How many times do we have the opportunity to be close to Jesus and miss it because our perception of Him does not allow us to sit at His feet?
- How many times do we have the opportunity to be close to Jesus and miss it because we don’t have a trusting relationship with him?
A few days ago I was listening to one of my favorite Christian speakers tell the story of a rich man who passes by his son in front of a bank knowing he is about to die.
What the father says to his son impressed me.
In the story, the father tells him:
“Son, I have a lot of money in that bank, but now suddenly that doesn’t matter much to me anymore.
Use it for you and your family.”.
“Now all of a sudden that doesn’t matter much to me anymore.”
Dear friend, one of the most enlightening and precious teachings of Jesus was the one he gave in the sermon on the mount when he said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and everything else will come to you in addition.”
I would like to invite you with those words to take advantage of and promote private moments alone with Jesus.
Moments when you can know Him for who He really is.
Moments when you can build a close relationship of trust with Jesus.
Moments when your perception of Him is shaped by the reality of His character and his love.
Is there anything that is affecting your relationship with God? What is your experience? Share with all of us to grow together.