I think what I said in Kingdom 53 might have thrown some people off, so let me try and clarify what I said. I asked the question why God hides Himself from us .. why doesn’t God reveal Himself more and make it easier for us to know Him. If He did, it would be so much easier for us to know what He wants. As a young believer I asked that question on the assumption that everyone would want to know the truth. I mean surely we all want to know the truth, don’t we? However, over the years I discovered that there are very few who really seek the truth. Instead of wanting to know the truth, people are afraid of the truth, and they would rather not know the truth. Why? Because truth always demands change. But change is difficult. Change is often very costly. And so people would rather not know the truth. It’s easier to live in denial than having to make the changes that truth demands. So strange as it may sound, people actually don’t really want the truth.
Let me give you a common example of this. A lot of people know they should exercise, and stop eating all that delicious junk food. They know it’s bad for them .. that it’s even slowly killing them. But will they exercise? Will they stop eating what they know they should not eat? Will they do it? No they won’t. Too difficult, right? So what do they do? They will keep pushing it out of their minds. We may laugh over it, but that’s one example of when it’s much easier to live in denial.
But there are other things, like what the gospel really is, and what church is, that people would rather not know. I’m not talking about church as we know it, but church as Jesus meant it to be. People will defend and justify church as it is understood and practiced today notwithstanding that they cannot find any Biblical precedent for it. Did you know that almost everything that is practiced in church today – church buildings, Sunday services, congregations, membership, salaried pastors, church boards, and other things we have taken for granted for what makes up a church – didn’t come from Jesus, or from Paul, or any of the NT writers. They all came from Constantine. So why are we following Constantine? Why are we not following Jesus? Could it be because there’s something about church today that is so powerful, so effective for the kingdom that it must be preserved at all costs, despite having no Biblical precedent for it? Or is it because the institution of church today ensures the continuity of certain positions and benefits for some people?
I’ll talk more about church later, but for now the point is this – how much do people really want the truth and to live by the truth? Jesus said something amazing in Jn.12:35. He said, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you.” Every time we hear a message, every time we read a book, or when someone confronts us with the truth about something, whenever the truth about anything comes to us, we have to make a choice. Shall we acknowledge the truth, whatever that might be, and walk according to what the truth requires of us, which means that we have to change, or shall we push it out of our minds, and excuse and defend and justify ourselves? If we choose to reject the light, meaning the truth, Jesus says the darkness will overtake us.
And then He also said this in Matt.6:22, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” Now how can the light within a person be darkness? What was Jesus talking about? I believe what Jesus was describing is something like this. Whenever someone rejects the truth about something, he doesn’t just reject it. He has to argue against it in his own mind in order to justify himself for not accepting it, so that it will not disturb him any further. Well I was a lawyer so I know this very well. What people normally do is to twist, or distort or manipulate the truth, so that the truth becomes something unacceptable, while the opposite of the truth which they are indulging in, becomes justifiable in their minds. Whether it’s about alcohol, or drugs or adultery or whatever. That’s when the light within people becomes darkness.
Let me give you another example of this. I was in Cambodia many years ago to participate in a rice distribution to thousands of people who had lost their rice fields to very bad flooding. The funds were contributed by several American, and Singaporean NGOs and a Malaysian NGO that I represented. After the rice distribution was done, I went through the accounts with the local leader who was in charge of organizing the rice distribution. When I looked at the accounts and records, it was very clear to me that part of the funds had been siphoned off for something else and he had presented false receipts and false records to cover it up. When I confronted him about it, he tried to deny it, but he discovered that I had many years of experience behind me and I knew the ins and outs of relief operations and how local leaders in many countries, not just Cambodia, they often do that. When he realized he couldn’t deny it any more, he finally admitted it. Then I asked him why he did it. He said it was his senior pastor who got him to do it. According to him, his senior pastor was concerned for his church workers and wanted to get some of the funds for them.
Was he sorry for what he did? Were they sorry for what they did? No they were not. In their minds they were poor, not like the Americans, Singaporeans and Malaysians. In their minds it’s justifiable to steal from the rich. But actually they were not stealing from us. They were stealing from their own people. But they didn’t want to think about that. In their minds their love and concern for each other justified what they did. The leader felt justified because he was obeying his senior pastor who wanted to get something for them. The senior pastor felt justified because he loved his church workers. And the church workers of course defended their senior pastor because he was looking out for them. And because he was their senior pastor, right? And I, well I became the bad guy for questioning the practice. So right can become wrong, and wrong can become right. That’s when the light within people is darkness. That’s what Jesus was talking about. Its darkness, but to them it’s light. Think about that.
Whether it’s the truth about life, or the truth about God, or the truth about evolution and science and the origin of life, or the truth about LGBT, or a pet doctrine we have believed in for many years, or the truth about the political party, or the leaders we have been supporting, or the truth about our children, or our lifestyle, or the truth about church. Whatever the truth might be about, it always boils down to this question : how willing are we to face up to the truth, no matter how much it goes against what we have always believed? Unless we do, God is not going to go any further with us.
In Jn.3:19 Jesus said, “This is the verdict : Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” People don’t like the light. They prefer to remain in darkness.
We know this. God says that He reveals Himself to those who truly seek Him with all their heart. And God also told us that He purposely hides Himself and hides the secrets of His Kingdom from the wise and learned and reveals them to little children. I’ve already talked about that in Kingdom 10. What does it mean to become like little children again? To give God a fresh slate, to start again at zero? I believe it means to be willing to unlearn. To unlearn all that we thought we already knew. It is to seek the truth, and to love the truth no matter what the cost. To love the truth more than love ourselves. It is to be willing to forgo even what might have been precious and dear to us.
In Matt.13, Jesus said the Kingdom of God is like a man who found treasure buried in a field. What did he do? He put the treasure back and buried it and he went home and sold everything in order to buy that field. He gave up everything in order to acquire it. And then He said the Kingdom of God is a like a pearl merchant who found that one pearl that ends all pearls. You know he’s a pearl merchant, right? He’s got a whole collection of his own pearls, that are precious and valuable to him, that he’s collected over the years, probably. But he goes home, and he looks at all his pearls, and he realizes that all his pearls are nothing, they are nothing in comparison to that one pearl he just found. So he says to himself, this one pearl, this one pearl, I must have it. And so he gives up everything. He sells it all in order to be able to have that one pearl. Jesus said that’s what the Kingdom of God is. We have to give up everything, in order to be able to have it.
Do we want to have revelation from God? Same thing. That’s what it will take.
These are transcripts of audio messages so they are better heard than read. If you would like to listen to them, the audio clips can be found here : https://goo.gl/KN4JYL . It’s a folder on googledrive, so you’ll need to sign in with your google account username and password (or sign up for a google account) to be able to access it