I published a book titled “Believing is Seeing – Focus Through a God-Centered Paradigm.” This is a very short synopsis of some of the information in the book. I have dedicated all the proceeds of the book to missions. The book deals with paradigms, perception, reality, and living a Christian life.
As an ophthalmologist, I have been intrigued by how two people can look at the same object or event in life and see something totally different. How does this happen and how does this relate to God? Why do some people receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior while others fail to recognize God in this world? Well, it has to do with each person’s paradigm.
What is a Paradigm? I am sure that you have heard the word many times before, but do you really know how paradigms affect everyone’s life?
A paradigm is a set of assumptions, concepts, beliefs, values, and/or practices that make up or constitute a way of seeing, viewing, or perceiving reality accepted by a group, culture, or community as normal or scientifically correct.
Paradigms exist in cultures, countries, and businesses. Each individual has his or her own unique paradigm. Your paradigm is composed of everything that you have studied, all the things that you have observed in life, and all the events or experiences that have occurred in your life. Your paradigm will change minimally from day to day unless there is a significant emotional event in your life, such as the sudden loss of a loved one, other tragic events in your life, or an extremely happy occurrence. Your paradigm may have a tremendous shift at that time. Just like a fingerprint, your paradigm is unique to you.
The next question is, does it matter what your particular paradigm is composed of? It affects everything in your life! Your paradigm will determine what you see or perceive in life, and how you react to everything in your environment. Eyewitnesses to a crime, accident, or other events are very unreliable in many cases due to each person’s perception or paradigm. There have been numerous instances where people have been convicted of a crime based on an eyewitness that later turned out to be wrong. How can one person see a big, hairy guy and another person see a skinny guy committing a crime? You would not think that people could see that differently, but it happens all the time.
The most important decision anyone will ever make is deciding to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Your perception of who God is will determine your ability to accept him as your Savior. The great benefit of understanding who Jesus is and accepting his gift of grace is that you will have eternal life in heaven. But what about living a God-centered or Christian life here on earth? What does your paradigm have to do with that?
As an ophthalmologist, one of my favorite verses in the Bible is found in Mathew.
Mathew 6:22-23 NLT
Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!
Is Jesus talking about the actual health of your eyes in these verses? No, he is not saying that you don’t have macular degeneration, glaucoma, or cataracts. He is not saying that you could come into my office and rapidly read the 20/20 line on the eye chart. I think that he is making two points in these verses. The first point that he is making is that whatever you focus your eyes on, whatever you pay attention to in your life, or however you live your life will affect your whole body or you as a person. If you focus your life on righteous things, on good things, and live your life according to his design, you will live a happy and prosperous life. Your body will be full of light. Who is the light of the world? Jesus is. You will be full of the Holy Spirit and live your life according to His will and guidance.
If you live your life according to your desires and you focus your life on earthly things, then you will be lost in darkness. And if you think that you have the answer or you know best, then how deep that darkness is. Your perception or paradigm will keep you from seeing the true light. Shifting one’s paradigm to one centered on God will be difficult or impossible for many people. Their paradigm will blind them from the truth. They will never see the true light.
The other point that Jesus is making is that if you live a Christian life, you are going to be healthier and live a longer life. There are nearly 2,000 studies that show Christians live 6 to 7 years longer than non-Christians. It’s not just 1 or 2 studies, but nearly 2,000 studies!
Here is another Bible verse that talks about vision and perception.
1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT
Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
1 Corinthians 13:12 MSG
We don’t see things clearly. We’re in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly as he knows us!
God must think that it is very important how we use our eyes, what we see in this world, and how we perceive things in this world. The word eye or eyes appears in the Bible more than 500 times.
People who have developed a paradigm that denies the existence of God have no excuse. If they just open their eyes and look at this amazing world that God has created, they would recognize God in his creation.
Romans 1:20 NLT
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
The great thing about paradigms is that they can be changed. You can choose what you decide to study, learn, or perceive in this world. I have a friend in the FBI whom I was discussing this topic with, and he said that they were constantly being trained on observation and perception. One day in class, a man rushed into the classroom and fired a gun at one of the students. It was a blank gun. The students all jumped up but were told to sit back down by their instructor. He told them this was their test. They were to write down everything that just happened. They were to describe everything about the gunman and every detail of what just occurred. You would be amazed at the different descriptions. But with time and training, their ability to observe and make a thorough description of an event dramatically improved.
Obviously, the most important thing about perceiving or recognizing things in this world is to understand who our Triune God is and to believe in Jesus Christ. But how about the advantages of living a God-centered life while here on earth? In addition to the fact that Christians live 6 to 7 years longer than non-Christians, did you know that Christians have significantly larger brains than non-Christians? It has been shown on brain scans that a Christian brain functions differently as well. The Holy Spirit is inside your brain and firing brain cells to communicate with you. Many of the thoughts that pop up in your mind are from the Holy Spirit. Amazing to know that the Holy Spirit is firing neurons in your brain, helping you live your life!
Romans 12:2 NLT
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform the way you think.
You can change the way you think, transform your mind, and develop what I call a God-centered paradigm. On your own, it may be difficult to shift your paradigm or transform your mind, but with the Holy Spirit, it can be easily accomplished or even be magical. Living a God-centered paradigm has many benefits, in addition to eternal life.
You have the potential of living an extra 10 years if you follow medical guidelines, such as a proper diet and exercise, and Bible guidelines for living a Christian life by developing a God-centered paradigm for your life. Following certain guidelines and steps will bring you closer to God, and medical studies have shown that at the same time, you can improve your cognitive abilities by an average of 25 percent. It is a win-win! The steps are not that difficult and you can see results in just a few months.
Develop a God-centered paradigm, enjoy a longer and healthier life, and have a closer and more meaningful relationship with God. The book Believing is Seeing gives you great insight and information on living a God-centered paradigm. There is spiritual insight, Bible Scripture, vision, and medical information about the advantages of living a Christian life.