Inconvenient Truth


A lot of people today do not believe God’s Word simply because they don’t want to.
Why? Because truth to them is inconvenient! Jesus declared, “that light is come into the world, (but) men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” (John 3:20 emphasis mine) Truth is inconvenient! Many today reject any notion of absolute truth. As a result they are unable to make any moral judgments – for judgment is the ability to say that one thing is right and another thing is wrong. Lots of people today feel that all choices are equally acceptable – all lifestyles are equivalent – all behavior is on a par with all other behavior. To disagree with that is to be intolerant, judgmental, lacking compassion. Such people are asked, “Who gives you the right to judge? What right do you have to impose your morality on the rest of us?” Truth makes the flesh uncomfortable. Truth is inconvenient!

We have come to the point in our culture where it is considered sophisticated and smart to see nothing but gray areas. Scripture offers a warning to any society that has evolved to such a confused state as ours: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20) How and why did we ever become so blinded to right and wrong? Our fleshly appetites are at the root of the problem. The Apostle Peter informed us that – “that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of…” (II Peter 3:3-5 emphasis mine) Willful ignorance is an ignorance of convenience. It is a game played by people who know the truth and wish they didn’t and who endeavor to live as if they don’t. They do their best to dismiss any thought of God and His will for their lives and to squelch any twinge of conscience that would try to influence them to make the decisions they really need to make.

 

The person who desires to please God must deal with his or her fleshly appetites. Peter advised us to, “abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul…” (I Peter 2:11) John counseled us to, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (I John 2:15-17) It was the lust of the eyes that led to Eve’s downfall in the beginning: “the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat…” (Genesis 3:6) By giving in to her fleshly appetites she choked out and forfeited what God’s Word had promised her. And so it still happens today. “And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18-19 emphasis mine)

 

I Peter 5:8 cautions us to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” It is through our own appetites that he attempts to devour us. “And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:2-4) So it was with Jesus and so it is with us. “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. ” (James 1:14) Jesus was tempted in all ways like as we are – yet without sin. And with His help we too can overcome the lusts of our flesh!

 

Paul writes of our lives before conversion saying that “in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” (Ephesians 2:2-3 emphasis mine) The wise man, Solomon, offers this good advice concerning our attitude towards this “ruler or prince of the power of the air”: “When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.” (Proverbs 23:1-3) The knife we must use to deal with our appetites is the Sword of the Spirit – the Truth! We must not allow our fleshly appetites – that are too often allied with our adversary – to lead us away from our love of truth. For, although truth may be inconvenient as far as our fleshly appetites are concerned, it is the very thing that has the power to set us free from bondage to those appetites. “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)

Rev. Robert Stroup is the District Superintendent of the Indiana District, United Pentecostal Church International. He is Pastor of Pentecostals of South Lake in Merrillville, Indiana.

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