Have you ever been to Florida? When I think of Florida I think of warm sun, beautiful beaches, palm trees and flamingos. Have you ever thought something was true your whole life to find out it’s not true at all? Funny thing about Flamingos, if you asked a native Floridian if they have ever seen a Flamingo in the wild, 99% of them would probably say no. Flamingos primarily reside in the Yucatan Peninsula in México, the Bahamas and the northern part of South America. Only a very small percent of Flamingos reside in Florida (in the wild) at the very tip of the Everglades. At one point at the end of the 1800’s Flamingos left Florida altogether, it wasn’t until recently a small number of them have migrated back.
Knowing what I know now about Flamingos makes me wonder have I applied this first impression truth to other areas of my life as well?
First impressions aren’t always true.
Don’t jump to conclusions – there may be a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw.” – Proverbs 25:8, The Message
I have grown up in the church my whole life and for the most part, consider the church as an extension of my home. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen some not so loving parts of the church. Whenever I meet people, the more I get to know them, I find out they stopped going to church because they have either been hurt or felt condemned. The church is supposed to be an extension of God’s home, a place where people can feel loved and accepted no matter who they are. Jumping to conclusions and holding onto first impressions can get us into trouble. We shouldn’t rely on these methods as our guide for making decisions or adopting our truth. We need to take a closer look to reveal the truth.
True- The church is full of imperfect people and is not perfect.
Truth- There will be times the church and its people make mistakes, but it is also a place where we learn to forgive one another.
True- People in the church may try to take part in God’s role and judge people.
Truth- Church is a place we learn how to walk the line of grace, love and accept people for who they are, grow as the body of Christ and come alongside one another.
“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” – John 7:24, ESV
In the gospels, when Jesus was teaching His messages to the disciples and crowds, He was trying to help them understand He was the new message of truth, love, mercy, and grace. They didn’t have to seek redemption or salvation from sacrificing lambs or following a bunch of laws, they just had to trust and believe in Him. But somehow a long the way the world we live in has twisted the character of who Jesus really is. We need to be careful because looks can be deceiving.
2 Cor. 11:13-14 NIV, “For such people, are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself, masquerades as an angel of light.”
In other versions of this verse, the word masquerading is also described as disguises and transformed. There will be things in this world that try to masquerade, transform and claim to be Jesus. There is only one true Jesus. Jesus isn’t someone who can fit in the box of a definition we create. Our definition of Him will never be found in what the world says but in what God’s Word says (The Bible).
Do you have an impression of Jesus that you don’t like? When we take a closer look, we can see the truth so much clearer, than standing from a far distance.
True- You may be hurting right now and are mad at God.
Truth- God is good all the time. His intention is to never hurt or harm us. Psalm 21:11, “Although they plot against you, their evil schemes will never succeed.”
True- There is evil hurting innocent people in this world.
Truth- God is never evil. Evil never comes from God. 1 Corinthians 13:6, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”
True- You feel defeated by your circumstances.
Truth- You are victorious no matter what your circumstances are. 1 Corinthians, “He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Jesus came so we could have life and have it to the full (John 10:10). He didn’t come to take away from our lives but to give. He came once and for all (1 Peter 3:18, Romans 6:10). He took our place on the cross for something we deserved.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
We need to be careful because looks can be deceiving. Just as Flamingos aren’t really a good representation of Florida, first impressions aren’t a good representation of God or the church. Don’t get your experience or receive your opinion from a distance, take a closer look and discover for yourself the truth about Jesus.
God’s Word isn’t meant to be hidden in the pages of the Bible, but to be alive and active in our hearts and lives. God’s truth will always set us free. You were made to be victorious. The more we are in God’s Word the more we discover His heart of who He really is.
Have you ever had a first impression of something and applied it as truth?
What is your truth about church and Jesus?
Have you stopped going to church and/or given up on Jesus?
God will never give up on us. He pursues us and desires to have a relationship with us. You are loved beyond measure by a God who loved you first! Would you like a deeper relationship with God and don’t know where to start? Please message or comment below, I would love to help! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Right now Florida needs our prayers! Join me in praying for Florida. Pray the people of Florida are protected from the harm of the hurricane. Pray the hurricane loses its speed and power. Pray people will listen to the evacuation warnings and get to safety. #PrayforFlorida
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