We are interpreters and don’t even realize it. Say that you bump into a friend you haven’t seen for a while. He shakes your hand and says, “Great to see you! I haven’t heard from you in ages!” Your brain could easily interpret his greeting to mean, “I’ve really missed you!” or just as easily, “Oh it’s you, you rotten friend, thanks for ignoring me for years...” Your interpretation will dictate your reactions and behavior, and create your own “truth” that you live by. You can potentially build a stronger friendship or destroy one, or even worse, foster grudges and resentment that stay with you for years.
But interpreting the world God’s way can turn all of that on its head. One quality of being born of God is being very aware of the fact that we live on a spiritual plane, which can affect and change the physical world. A total stranger could send all the wrong messages of hostility, rejection or contempt, and even though our fleshly instinct wants to judge them as jerks, God’s Spirit creates a new interpretation. First of all, we interpret ourselves as strong and in no need of approval by anyone else to be happy. Secondly we see beneath the surface to discern someone who’s hurting, insecure, or being attacked demonically and in need of help. We know that reacting in the Spirit could change their spirit for the better, so we go out of our way to be kind without expecting anything in return, or by silently praying against the demons that are tormenting that person’s mind at that moment. We impact their lives for the better. We may not see any specific change in the person, but the Spirit of God in us sees it. We can walk away from the experience stronger, more blessed, and untouched by the negativity that our old reactions would have created.
God’s constant message to us is that every problem has a solution, that there’s always something good we can do. We can interpret bad news, or even ordinary events, spiritually. And then our reacting can change the course of how things play out in the future. Our interpretations may seem crazy to others, but if they spring from the Spirit of God, they’re always right. Look at how Jesus interpreted situations that baffled His followers:
He slept through a storm that could have killed everyone on board.
He told His disciples to feed thousands of people with a few fish and bread.
He told mourners to stop crying because a dead girl was just sleeping.
He touched lepers.
He criticized religious leaders.
He ate with prostitutes and thieves.
He destroyed property and ran people and animals out of the Temple.
He cursed trees.
He talked to storms.
He forced demons to obey Him.
He healed everyone who asked Him.
He didn’t back down before His own death on the cross.
God wants us to start interpreting the world His way. But this comes from a radical faith in Him, His promises and His character. It feels unnatural at first, because it’s implicit that every time we live by the Spirit, we kill our flesh. But the more we practice it, the less we want to go back to the old way of interpreting.
What problem is bugging you the most? What’s making you feel stuck? Ask God to show you how He wants you to interpret that situation, and then start acting on it. That interpretation could demand that you act in a way that makes you look crazy, that makes you feel vulnerable or foolish or even weak. Great! That means you’re being forced to act by faith, and faith is what moves mountains.
Then He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rise out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it is. And when a south wind blows, you say, ‘There will be heat,’ and it happens. You hypocrites! You can discern (interpret) the face of the sky and of the earth. But why do you not know how to discern (interpret) this time? Luke 12:54-56, MEV