Assumptions. Everyone lives by them each moment of the day. Truth is, the veracity and quality of your assumptions will determine the course of your life and affect the lives around you. What assumptions are you living by? Are they true? Will they stand the test of life and of time? Who or what is building your box of assumptions? It is questions like these that faced a high schooler named Eunice Im a few years back. I urge you to read her story and learn from it. – Arthur
“The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.”
One night, I found my high school yearbook lying on my desk. Cracking it open brought back a flood of memories. While looking through pictures and reading through messages from old friends, a mix of emotions sprung up from reminiscing and remembering those ‘good old times.’ As I sat and pondered, I was confronted with a harsh question—did any of that really matter?
During high school, I always wanted to popular. I wanted to be the girl who was liked, sociable, and accepted. Of course, there were things that I was not willing to compromise for the sake of popularity, but I still had a strong desire for it. I envied those who had more friends than me, who always had a date to the upcoming dance, and who were invited to all the ‘cool’ parties. I could not bear the idea of being a social outcast, someone who missed out on all the ‘fun.’
Reflecting back, I can see that I lived with the assumption that man’s praise is the best thing to receive in life. Del Tackett poignantly states, “Assumptions are the most dangerous form of knowledge.” Assumptions, depending on its source, will bring prosperity or turmoil. Only the assumptions that align best with truth can yield a well-lived life. God, the One with perfect perception, is the source of truth. “The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.” (Psalm 19:8)
What does God do with His people, who live according to ‘precepts’ of the flesh, rather than the Spirit? How does He break down these assumptions? What does it take to break away from our destructive thinking?
Before college started, I made a commitment to intentionally invest in more meaningful relationships with my family and church friends. I didn’t want to spread myself thin, like I did in high school, and the Lord convinced me, through His Word and through different people and circumstances, that this is the best decision. It wasn’t until I carried this out that I realized the depth of my assumptive thinking.
By the end of high school, I was well known amongst my peers and I had many ‘friends.’ Looking through my yearbook, most of the notes have the same message, “OMG Eunice you are such an awesome person and I love you so much.” Once college started, I struggled with the consequence of my decision: less frequent phone calls, less outings, and no more Facebook wall postings. Each day didn’t seem as exciting without having someone complimenting on my looks, intelligence, personality, or achievements. Even though I knew I was making the best decision, I frequently faced moments of intense loneliness and depression. As the days passed, I slowly realized how much I had grown dependent upon others to boost my ego and increase my self-esteem. I would have never realized the extent of my assumption, unless One from outside the Box disciplined me, taking the worldly things that I fondly hung onto away.
There are times when I would rather listen to my heart’s desires than obey God. As I obey Him, moment by moment, He has been replacing my old assumption with a new one—His approval and anointing is the best thing to receive in life. The fruits of my previous assumption are empty words and easily forsaken commitments; under His precepts, I find true, meaningful communion with the greatest Person of all time.
As God reveals to me the vain fruit of my old assumptions, He stops me in the midst of my earthly pursuits and He directs my life down a different path, straight to His heart. He helps me say with the Psalmist, “A day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (Psalm 84:10)
He constantly reveals all the sinful thoughts that are deeply trenched in every layer of my heart. As He does this, I’m overcome with grief as I clearly see my perverted inclination towards pride, jealousy and anger. In the midst of the shame, God speaks into the “box” of my life to remind me that “all discipline for the moment seems not joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” (Hebrews 12:11) What a miracle! In the midst of my pain, I can rejoice, knowing that His work is not done in vain. Indeed, “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6) I can rest upon that promise.
– Eunice Im