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Stop judging by mere appearances

I like the story where the king of Israel asks Elisha about the army attacking them. Elisha responds, “Don’t be afraid; those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16-17)   What! What was he talking about? No one was with them! They were about to be overwhel…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
I like the story where the king of Israel asks Elisha
about the army attacking them. Elisha responds, “Don’t be afraid; those who
are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16-17)
What! What was he talking
about? No one was with them! They were about to be overwhelmed by a
vicious army. My knees would be knocking and I’d be praying the last rites over myself. But Elisha sees something and prays, “O God, open his eyes so he may see.”
Wow, what a great prayer. Something else was going on that the king just couldn’t see. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t need to be praying that prayer. “O God, open my eyes so I can see.”
Then the Lord opened the king’s eyes and he saw “the hills
full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” That was
reality, he just needed to have his eyes of faith opened. And, of course, we are
no different.
What impossible situation do you need to see through the
eyes of faith? As I often say, we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we’re spiritual beings having a temporary human experience. The problem we have to confront is that we’ve been using our five senses and our rational mind so long that it’s hard to perceive the world through any other lens.
Our perception is askew if not broken. Unless we switch on our spirit inside and see through the eyes of faith, we’re doomed to go through life missing the spiritual big picture. And sadly, I think most of us do miss it.

Jesus had a heck of a time training his disciples to see this way. “Stop judging by mere appearances,” he admonished them.

Earlier, he had told them, “The Son can do nothing by himself. He can only do what he sees the Father doing,” (John 5:19). Jesus himself was limited to what he could see happening in the Spirit realm.
But the disciples struggled as we do. When Jesus tells them to feed the great crowd following them, Philip processes the situation through his rational mind and declares, “Eight months wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” He needed to open his spiritual eyes and see what God was doing.
So again I ask, what problem are you seeing through your physical eyes? What army is surrounding you? Isn’t it time you acted like the son or daughter of the Most High God that you are and ask him what he is doing in that situation? We need to open our spiritual eyes and stop judging by mere appearances. Life is too short. Without the eyes of faith – that is, without our spiritual eyes open – Scripture tells us, it’s impossible to please God. (Heb. 11:6).

Comments (7)

  • Thanks Seth for a solid reminder of the reality the things we “see” are not the things ultimately “real”.

    The truth is we either jump off the spiritual high dive or we don’t.

    I am weary of listening to the cheerleaders encouraging deep leaps of faith even as they make their way down the long ladder saying… “excuse me!”

    One of the many reasons I respect you and love the work of AIM is that you try to cultivate a zone where BS will not be tolerated.

    We need more of that…

  • This is a very timely message for me. You just don’t know how this ministered to me greatly. Thank you and I praise God for the eyes of faith.

  • Seth,
    This morning, I’ve been camping out in Habakkuk, Psalms 55, & Proverbs 24:12-faced with-on top of the rest of it- I’ve failed to finish some Key financial aid work for my daughter. Sigh. This life was not made to run solo nor as an attempt to run a triathlon while running a marathon while simultaneously slogging out an adventure race. But that’s what it is.

    Exhausted, afraid, and demoralized before she asked me where my part of the paperwork is (way past the deadlines)..crushed now. Yesterday, it was just the normal overwhelm of work/life responsibilities-(always more with less). Today it’s failure to act and a huge ever present need for God to act. And knowing that there is more work for me to do in a day of finite hours and God who tips the universe. And hopin that finally the encouragement, “when we were without strength…” will play out. Doggone it.

    Timely reflection.

  • Thank you for an exceptional word, Seth! These were perfect words of encouragement that I was able to pass along to a friend this morning who was recently told that she would not be able to have more children.

    This was also a timely word for me and my own life’s “impossibles.” Your posts are most encouraging and informative; thank you for seeking to uplift your brothers and sisters by reminding us what GOD says!


  • This passage about Elisha is a favorite! Funny, when you have little, trusting God fully becomes easier…or so it seems. Financially, for example: when the money was rolling in and the landscape clear, faith was there but untested.

    There is nothing comparable to “seeing” my Father’s hand. And that is merely with money, saying nothing of the true riches He daily freely gives.

    Who knew loss brings about riches? Yet another paradox of the kingdom of heaven.

  • Allie I’m praying for you today. That your God will send you a refreshing breeze of His sustaining Grace. That you would be encouraged in truth and let loose to accomplish the tasks in front of you. I pray that the power of God’s Holy Spirit guide and lead you to problem solve and strategically handle your days with order and peace. May God’s hand of strength and anointing be present to make you more than able to handle the days tasks and hurdles.

    Some days just straight up stink. I’m thankful for the oasis friends that remind me of truth and do not allow my vision to become myopic. The community of Christ can do a great job of encouraging and clarifying truth. Thankful that you found comfort in Seth’s blog today.

    It was a good word.


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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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