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.
You see a used car that you’re interested in buying. You know, of course, that you’re just asking for trouble if you don’t have a mechanic check it out before you buy it so you call a mechanic and take the car by.
The mechanic looks the car over and reports to you that the car is in great shape. You confidently return to the dealership and buy the car. Almost immediately, however, you start having mechanical problems with your new car. The original mechanic isn’t available so you go to a second one. He takes one look at then engine and gives you a long list of repairs that need to be made to the tune of several hundred dollars.
You storm back to the original mechanic and confront him with the list of needed repairs. “Why on earth would you tell me this car was good to buy? I wouldn’t have bought it except that you told me it was okay.”
The mechanic shrugs and says, “Well, I could see how much you loved the car and I didn’t want you to be disappointed. I never want anyone to leave my shop unhappy.”
Can’t you imagine how angry you would be? We don’t take our cars to mechanics because we want to hear a lie. We want the truth, even if it disappoints us.
Or what if you go to see a doctor for your yearly check up. You’ve been dreading it because you’re pretty sure the doctor is going to tell you that you need to lose more than a few pounds, to lay off the salt and the caffeine and to get more exercise. So, imagine your surprise when the doctor congratulates you on how healthy and fit you are. In fact, you can’t help but laugh out loud. “Are you sure you’re talking to me?” you ask. “I’m at least 30 pounds over weight and the only way I could run at all is if I was being chased by a bear! What are you trying to pull?”
All the doctor can do is say, “I’ve noticed when I tell people they need to lose weight and exercise or stop smoking or whatever, they don’t come back. When folks leave feeling good about their health, they come back.”
Wouldn’t you rather know that your doctor is going to tell you the truth about your health, even if it’s not something you want to hear?
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.