The Unfiltered Life

I heard recently from a teaching by Steffany Gretzinger that “When we receive with a filter, we give with a filter.” What she meant by this is that when we receive from God with a misunderstanding of who He is, we will ultimately serve others out of that filter. It’s almost as if when God sends us a text message of some sort, we are responsible to interpret it rightly. However, if we mix up the signals and we make our own assumptions without discernment, it can prove dangerous to us and the people around us. Our sins and actions do not just affect the people around us, but they speak of how we view God.  Even David knew that when he murdered and committed adultery, his sin wasn’t against another person, but it was against God himself. He knew his actions were directly correlated to his own view of God.

A filter blinds us from seeing things for what they really are. For example, the other day Joseph (my husband) and I were laughing at how the dog filter on Instagram will widen our eyes and clear up our blemishes on our face—it hides the ugly and distorts what really is—or even worse, it might hide the beauty and leave the fear. I believe that it is a lifelong process for us to not just understand these filters, but make it an ambition to expose them into the light so they will become a light (Ephesians 5:13). For how can we love God rightly, if we don’t even know him rightly?

Here are some filters that I have come across (and still do!) and questions you can ask yourself to help identify them:

Filter of Hurt

We talk about this a lot here at BTM, and it’s true that when we are hurt, especially by someone we consider an authority, we will project that view onto God, the ultimate authority.

Are you or do you often:

  • Hold forgiveness/bitterness towards people in your life?
  • Passive aggressive/angry towards others or God?
  • Have trouble maintaining intimacy with God or others? (running away from others)?
  • Show unrealistic emotions for events that do not make sense (apathy or extreme emotion)?
  • Believe a distorted system about yourself because of words in the past/events in the past?
  • Struggle with insecurity?
  • Have certain unreconciled scenes from your life keep replaying in your mind?
  • Struggle to break bad habits?

Filter of Emotionalism (Spirit without Truth)

Jesus said that his worshippers will worship in spirit and  truth. Having an unhealthy balance between either of them can either lead to emotionalism, commonly known as hyper grace, or religiousness. Emotionalism will lead us to miss out on what God has for us in His Word, His truths, and His discipline, while religiousness will deprive us of receiving true grace and freedom to love. Both are filters that will hinder us from seeing God rightly and loving others well.

Are you or do you often:

  • Have trouble having a stable quiet time?
  • Don’t feel connected to God unless you feel something?
  • Often feel you are misunderstood or “outside the law?”
  • Struggle to receive hard truths with spoken plainly?
  • Struggle to encounter God in mundane activities?
  • Often idolize speakers/leaders who have great charisma, but have no idea about their private life?
  • Value spiritual giftedness or signs more than the virtues of integrity and humility in your life?
  • Worry about how other people will view you?
  • Have difficulty gaining vision and maintaining it in your life?
  • Don’t have “your house in order” (2 Kings 20:1)?

Filter of Religiousness (Truth without Spirit)

Are you or do you often:

  • Get burnt out often?
  • Unrighteously judgmental towards others?
  • Have trouble difficulty being vulnerable with others?
  • Have trouble admitting failure/hurt?
  • Don’t give grace to yourself or others?
  • Have trouble relinquishing control to others/trusting others?
  • Replay moments in the day that you wish you could have done differently and blame yourself?
  • Have trouble receiving God’s love, but have a heightened sensitivity to the fear/correction of God?
  • Worry about how other people will view you?

Worshipping in Spirit and Truth

It is critical to be self aware on where we stand with God.  It’s always been my life goal that I would not just KNOW God, but that I would know Him for who He really is. He doesn’t only empathize with our hurts, but He heals them (Hebrews 4:15, Psalm 147:3). He is not a God only in fire and hype, but in the whispers and quiet (1 Kings 19:12). He is not a God who is motivated to get things done, but is a Father who motivated by love (Galatians 5:6). When we allow God to expose our filters and restore us, we can experience true intimacy the way He intended it. We have clarity, and we can have confidence when we speak of His truths.

Do not be afraid to search and seek out the truth of who God, He will prove Himself faithful. I want to live my life with Him without a filter, allowing Him to strip me of everything that is not His and clothe me with His being.  I hope that you would join me on this journey of taking off the filters in our lives, embracing the mundane, the ugly, and even the treasures we might find along the way. (Psalm 34:18, 2 Corinthians 4:1-16, Psalm 84:10, 1 Peter 4:12-19)