Google defines a matrix as an “environment or material in which something develops; a surrounding medium or structure.” Our beliefs shape us. We live out our lives in the medium of our worldviews and perceptions. Not only does this hold true in regard to religion and theology, but in the way we see ourselves and others on a daily basis.
A child who grows up in a loving home where his physical and emotional needs are attended to will grow up believing that people are basically good, honest, and trustworthy. Whereas a child who grows up neglected or abused will see the world as hostile, and people as untrustworthy. It doesn’t matter how beautiful, talented, or capable someone really is, if the authority figures in her life always told her she was stupid, ugly, or would never amount to anything, she’ll probably live out her life acting on that belief. This is a sober reminder that words have the power to hurt or to heal; another topic for another day.
The message I want to share in this post is about our thoughts toward God and our understanding of Him, because this affects the way we see ourselves and the way we live our lives. I’ve come to realize that we’re always at risk of falling under the power of a false paradigm—a matrix of error—that hinders us from having peace and a sense of purpose.
Our view of God is often based on how we saw our parents. A child whose father was loving and kind sees God as loving and kind. A child whose father was critical and distant will probably see God in the same light; cold and removed from our lives and struggles. What we believe about God is also determined by our religious training. Certainly there is value in listening to what others say about God, but of greatest importance is what God says about Himself:
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29)
Do I take any pleasure at all in having the wicked person die?” asks Adonai Elohim [Lord God]. “Wouldn’t I prefer that he turn from his ways and live? (Ezekiel 18:23)
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some people think of slowness; on the contrary, he is patient with you; for it is not his purpose that anyone should be destroyed, but that everyone should turn from his sins. (2 Peter 3:9)
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only and unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed. (John 3:16)
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place — what are mere mortals, that you concern yourself with them; humans, that you watch over them with such care? (Psalm 8:3-4).
With a God so loving, merciful and kind, why do we resist Him? Why do we often set ourselves against His will, determined to maintain control over our lives and walk according to our own desires? “Control” is an illusion. Ultimately we have no real control over our lives. Yes, we can control our actions, our behavior, our words, and how we respond to things; however, we don’t have control over other people, events, circumstances, or even the consequences of our own choices. So why not submit to the One whose will is perfect and good?
Some of us have gotten the false impression that God is sitting in the heavens just waiting to inflict some disaster or trial upon us to “test” our loyalty and obedience to Him. And thus we’re afraid to submit ourselves to God’s authority, because if we do…well…He’ll just zap us. My friends please listen. This is a false MATRIX. It’s a paradigm that keeps us from intimacy with the Almighty. We will never fully obtain the peace of God—His “Shalom”—as long as we see Him as untrustworthy.
Do “bad things happen to good people?” Yes. Do good things happen to bad people? Yes. And conversely, good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. God is not some Cosmic Puppeteer orchestrating every detail of our lives and forcing us into conformance to His will. Jesus warned that in this world we will have tribulation (trials, struggles, problems), but he comforts us by saying that united with him we will have shalom. “Shalom” is not an absence of conflict; rather, it is an internal peace, well-being, wholeness, and completeness.
God took great care to preserve His word, found in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible (the Torah and the Apostolic writings). If we want to know what He is really like; His character and nature, and if we want to worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24), we must be willing to “disconnect” from any MATRIX that keeps us in spiritual darkness so that we can enter “into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Scripture quotations are taken from the Complete Jewish Bible, copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. Published by Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. www.messianicjewish.net/jntp. Distributed by Messianic Jewish Resources. www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved. Used by permission.