Monday, September 17, 2012

Comfortable Lies -- Uneasy Truths

Thoughts on the Sabbath School Lesson for 9.22.12

Which would you rather hear? Be honest now. Wouldn’t you rather hear that your new haircut makes you look 10 years younger rather than that it makes your ears look really, really huge? Think back to when you were dating – when you first introduced someone you’d met to your friends, you wanted to hear how perfect you were for each other. The friend who told you honestly that they could see that your date was not your type usually earned your wrath instead of your gratitude.

Imagine this scenario: You pick “your car up from the shop after a routine tune-up, and the technician says, ‘This car is in great shape. Clearly you have an automotive genius to take great care of your car.’ Later that day, your brakes don't work. You find out you were out of brake fluid. You could have died.

“You go back to the shop, and you say, ‘Why didn't you tell me?’ The technician replies, ‘Well, I didn't want you to feel bad. Plus, to be honest, I was afraid you might get upset with me. I want this to be a safe place where you feel loved and accepted.’ You'd be furious! You'd say, ‘I didn't come here for a little fantasy-based ego boost! When it comes to my car, I want the truth.’

“Or imagine going to the doctor's office for a check-up. The doctor says to you, ‘You are a magnificent physical specimen. You have the body of an Olympian. You are to be congratulated.’ Later that day while climbing the stairs, your heart gives out. You find out later your arteries were so clogged that you were, like, one jelly doughnut away from the grim reaper.

“You go back to the doctor and say, ‘Why didn't you tell me?’ The doctor says, ‘Well, I knew your body is in worse shape than the Pillsbury doughboy, but if I tell people stuff like that, they get offended. It's bad for business. They don't come back. I want this to be a safe place where you feel loved and accepted.’ You'd be furious! You'd say to the doctor, ‘When it comes to my body, I want the truth!’”[1]

What about when it comes to your salvation? Do you want the truth then? Some of us would rather live with a comfortable lie.

Paul tells us that we need to love the truth to survive the end time events: 
“and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10)
“The love of the truth” – Paul says they couldn’t be saved without it. What do you think that means? Could it mean that we want to know the truth even if it means that our lives are more complicated because of it? Even if it means we have to change jobs because of what we believe? Even if knowing the truth means our families won’t have anything to do with us and some friends turn away? It may mean all of those things, but for sure it means that we love to read and study the source of all truth, the Bible.

Paul describes the opposite of having the love of the truth as having “itching ears.” 
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4
As time moves toward Jesus’ Second Coming, loving the truth is going to become so important. We will all be faced with deceptions and lies that are so convincing that we won’t have a chance of seeing through them unless God stands with us. Even right now, people believe so many different things about how Jesus’ coming will play out that if we are looking for the comfortable lie, we will have no trouble at all finding it. The question is, do we have the courage to look past what is comfortable and reach for the truth beyond?

God promises that if we will stand for His truth that He will take special care of us. 
“Holy, ministering agencies of heaven are cooperating with human agencies to lead into safe paths all who love truth and righteousness. It is the greatest joy of the angels of heaven to spread the shield of their tender love over souls who turn to God; and Satan fights determinedly to retain every soul that has had light and evidence. His fierce, unabated desire is to destroy every soul possible. Will you choose to stand under his banner?” (E.G. White, SDA Bible Commentary, Volume 7, p.922)
You know that the enemy wants to keep as many as he can out of Heaven, and he will do whatever he can to confuse and deceive us.
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. ‘Then if anyone says to you, “Look, here is the Christ!” or “There!” do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.’” Matthew 24:21-25
Life would be so much easier if we could wrap ourselves in those comfortable lies – that these jeans don’t make me look fat, that being a follower of Jesus will be easy, that we can achieve world peace, and that computers will give us a paperless society.

Do we really want to live in the lie? Or would we rather embrace the uneasy truths that will ensure our salvation? We can’t depend on our mother/father/spouse for our salvation; we have to find Jesus for ourselves. We have to study our own Bibles and have our own relationship with Jesus. Sometimes, following Jesus will be uncomfortable, unpopular, and maybe even unhealthy (check out the stories of the early Christians…it didn’t end well for them – on earth, anyway).

What will happen to those who haven’t received the love of the truth – who have itching ears – who want salvation to be easy? Paul says, 
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2: 9-12
Think about it…comfort or salvation…which will you choose?

Dear Jesus, I want to receive the love of truth so that I won’t be deceived. Amen.

[1] John Ortberg, "Loving Enough to Speak the Truth,"

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