This post is subjective than most, yet I hope it serves its purpose concerning the subject of perception and reality.
As a Christian that is fast approaching his fourth decade as a believer, it is the human desire to stay within my own area of comfort that shackles me as a believer concerning the vastness of God in His Word, and what He desires to say to me as an individual through it, yet also as a teacher to comprehend it in a way that I can associate it to others so that they can more readily metabolize it.
I know the following analogy concerning the calling of teaching the Word of God, while unseemly to some, I find myself mentally coming back to time after time. It is the analogy of a mother bird feeding her young. It is the responsibility of each fledgling to eat food that is nutritious for it’s growth and maturing.
However, the fledgling must seek this nutrition from a more mature bird (Romans 10:15) who nurtures them by chewing up the food first, so that the larger parts are made smaller and more edible for the fledging to then digest on their own.
I know this sounds sick, the idea of chewing up worms and spinning them in another’s mouth, however the parallels between this and teaching the Word of God, especially in the position of a pastor, seem to apply. We see this over and over again especially in the New Testament concerning Paul speaking about others being his sons in the Lord (1 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4).
No I don’t see my role as pastoring concerning the essays I write, or the public teaching and preaching him that I do; and as we know every analogy breaks down at some point. Yet, it is in understanding that teaching the Word of God necessitates the breaking down of God’s Word into smaller pieces (see Endnote 1 as an example), especially breaking down the Greek or the Hebrew languages.
Communicating Biblical truth is very difficult in that it is intellectual by its nature, yet it is spiritual in its essence.
My point is this, there’s only so much that you can think yourself into understanding, there is a place where experience must come in for the information or knowledge to be truly comprehended.
This is why we have so many self-proclaimed Christian teachers that talk a good talk – but don’t walk the walk.
One of my teachers used to say, “If you don’t add shoe leather to your faith – keep your mouth shut.”
His point was there’s a lot of people that have knowledge, that attempt to impress people by either regurgitating what they have read that was written by wise scholars who did the source work, who experienced what they were speaking about, which gave great power to what the original scholars stated.
When Jesus explained the qualities and roles of the Holy Spirit, he spoke about Him being a guide, as seen in John 16:13; yet it is Jesus reference to the Holy Spirit as “another1 comforter” as found in John 14:16, that displays that the Holy Spirit does far more than enlighten and teach.
The word translated into the English “comforter,” is the Greek word parakletos, which meant an intercessor, abdicate, counselor, as well as a comforter. It was a Greek legal term that was used concerning a legal advisor, leader, proxy, or abdicated; for someone else who would “come forward in behalf of and as a representative of the other person.”
The Holy Spirit is to continue being God’s representative on earth in Christ’s place fulfilling God’s Will. But doing so in a particular way which was different than that of Christ mission. The Holy Spirit is to indwell the believer; this is more than a believer possessing head knowledge.
In John 14:17, Jesus explained that at that time, while Jesus was still present on the Earth, the Holy Spirit was with them, but once Jesus left the Holy Spirit would live within the believer, this also explains Jesus words as found in John 16:7:
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you”
The point is a person is not a believer who has intellectual knowledge about God or His Word.
A person becomes a believer when ever a relationship is established with God by them exercising faith in God, wherein God adopts them as sons into his family. It’s not head knowledge that gain salvation.
Now back to the point at hand.
You have to experience an experience to experience it. I know this sounds redundant. But you cannot fully apprehend something that someone else has experienced it, without experiencing it yourself.
This is why simulations become so important in our everyday life. Simulations are scenarios that are set up to train us how to live through an event without experiencing the event itself. They are meant as training without actually going through the event itself in order to gain inside of what to do when the event actually happens.
If you think about a flight simulator you understand what I mean. Your enclosed in this machine that has all the lights, buttons, dials, and controls of a cockpit. You’re looking out windows as if you were really flying a plane.
But the windows are merely screens that project visual representations of a scenario that they will set up in order to train you how to react in the cockpit in order to learn how to fly the plane without actually climb into a plane itself. It has been proven that many lives have been saved by training pilots this way.
It is much safer to make a mistake in the simulator were no deaths occur, no planes are lost; and the pilot learns a very valuable lesson.
Now, let me present a simulation, a grand simulation if you will.
Let’s say one night you are awakened from sleep by an extraterrestrial being. His appearance is overwhelming; and there is no mistaking the fact that this being is not from this earth. You understand that in any instant he could destroy you, and there is no one or thing that could stop him from doing whatever it wanted to with you.
Rather it’s the color or light that would shine from him, the fire from it’s eyes, or the voice that sounds like a 1000 thunders; or the change in the atmosphere around you, the pressure expanding; the air getting thin. Everything within you, all of your senses communicated the reality of what you were experiencing – your life had changed forever at this moment.
Now let’s say that this creature told you that since the day that you were born, everything that you believe to be real was simply a simulation – a soundstage in which you were the actor.
He would go on to say that the people that you interacted with, were simply props; in order to conduct this experiment – this simulation. Where you lived, how you lived, all was produced for you and you alone in order to test you, to setup a scenario to evaluate you in many different situations; yet all came to a final evaluation that was conducted the evening before this creature arrived to conclude the simulation.
Tell me the fear that you would feel if you were this individual.
You see here is the paradigm shift – you are the individual.
Yet God in his power has placed every one of us within this simulation we call life, all interacting with each other; yet all of us drawing the sole attention to our behaviors as we are being evaluated. This is the reality that encompasses the world we live in.
And the big question to you would be “did I pass the test,”
The thing I have learned in engaging in any enterprise is to define what success is, what it looks like. Because once we understand what must be done we can design goals, wherein objectives are determined in order to achieve the success desired.
There are many individuals that call themselves Christians that have set as their goal in life as being less of a sinner. And as such, are going to hell having failed the goal, and missed success. Life for them becomes like the old TV series: “Twilight Zone,” where simulation were mistaken for reality, and reality became horrifying.
Having less sin in our lives, can make us better Christians; but it can also make us better Hindus, or better Buddhist, or better Mormons; but this is not what God defines as success.
Biblical success is that of pleasing God (1 Thessalonians 4:1). And we please God by acting in faith (Hebrews 11:6), which is the goal that is set before us (1 Peter 1:7). And the objectives that help us meet the goal of living a life of faith are called trials. It’s weird to think of trials as objectives, but that’s what they are.
This is what Peter was talking about in 1 Peter 1:7, which states:
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”
Within this physical simulation is a spiritual dimension. We are experiencing everything necessary to enable us to navigate this physical simulation, where experience is gained, immaturity can be achieved; and where a fair and just God will evaluate if we are successful or not.
How often we find ourselves behaving in such a manner because others are observing us, yet the reality of our lives within this physical simulation is that there is only one BEING in the audience – there is only one Critic at the play – there is only one opinion that is important, and it is God’s.
1. The word here “another” is quite amazing and should be examined – as follows:
In Koiné Greek, there are 2 different words translated into the English word for “another”.
1). Another, of the same of the same kind.
2). Another,of the same of a different kind.
1). Whereas the Greek word (allos) [G243], translated “another” in the English means: another of the same type.
2).The Greek word (het’eros) [G2087], translated into the English word “another,” actually means: another of a different type.
An example of this is seen when comparing Joh_14:16, and Act_7:18. The John 14:16 passages states:
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another (allos) Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever”
And Act_7:18, which states:
“Till another (het’eros) king arose, which knew not Joseph.”
In the first example, the word for “Another” as in Joh_14:16 means: the same of the same kind, in connecting Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as being of the same essence.
However, the second example of the word “Another”, as in Act_7:18 is an example of: the same of a different kind. Here, Stephen in giving the Old Testament Bible study, declares that the Pharaoh of the Exodus was not Egyptian (we learn from Isa. 52:4, that he was an Assyrian); he was “another king,” but of a different race. When Moses speaks about this Pharaoh, it does not give any details as to there being any difference (though the Septuagint and the Talmud state the difference). Moses simply states in Exo_1:8:
“there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph”