How hard it is for the world to accept Jesus! It seems as though people will turn any direction but toward Him. They see what they think is light on the horizon, but they’re deceived. It’s as though the darkness casts a mirage that appears as light. Just like the illusion in the desert of water that shimmers in the distance like a pleasant oasis and deludes the weary traveler whose brain has been fried in the hot sun, so it is with darkness that seems like it’s light and beckons the souls of many.
We are a willful people. Jeremiah 17:9 shows us what God wants us to understand:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
Our sin nature produces a heart that cannot on its own find truth; it simply can’t be honest with itself. This organ that is so vital to life is untrustworthy in the things of the Spirit. It dooms us to death through its treacherous ways.
One of the heart’s strategies to lead us astray is to trick us into thinking that we can be as God. In the Garden, Satan knew of the self-deception in his own heart and used that to beguile Adam and Eve. Isn’t it ironic? This being with his own free will knew himself well enough, and by extension God’s human creation, that he could approach them in such a way that they would follow his devious path.
In going down this road, he took his own characteristics with which God had endowed him and twisted them. His heart was proud (Ezekiel 28:1). He had everything (Ezekiel 28:12). He walked in perfection until his self-will got the better of him (Ezekiel 28:15). He was the epitome of splendor and light (Ezekiel 28:17; Isaiah 14:12). Taking this and more, he transformed himself in his own mind into the supreme bearer of light. He was Lucifer who determined that he was above Yahweh.
In this persona of Lucifer, light bearer to the world, he has corrupted mankind through the ages. One of his most devious acts has been to turn the roles upside down between him and God, so that humans would think that he is the preeminent being in the spirit world; thus replacing God whom he casts as the villain.
Ages-long deceptions have been foisted on mankind through this impersonation. It has made him the object of reverence and worship, also elevating his already over-the-top ego to think that he can thwart God’s ultimate plans for the redemption of the world.
However, he is not equal to God; he is a created being who simply aspires to more than he is entitled or capable. Those who follow him will participate in his ultimate downfall and destiny.
Another group of people are drastically affected by their deceitful heart, but in a different way. No doubt Satan’s whispering in their ears has impacted them, but in their case they strictly follow where their own minds lead. They don’t necessarily lift up Lucifer as their god; they tend more to exalt themselves and their own abilities. They believe they are completely capable of solving all their own problems without the help of the only One who can truly help them. It can result in a lifetime of suffering at their own hands because of how proud and stubborn their hearts are.
Such willfulness impacts others who love them. For family members or friends who belong to the Lord, this can be extremely difficult. They witness, they pray, they plead with God to break this person and convict her of her sin and foolishness, but to no avail. Will she ever turn to God in desperation? Only He knows.
There is One and One alone who changes these distorted perceptions. Jesus said in John 8:12:
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
He told the Pharisees that they had no idea who He was, came from, or was going. Why? Because they judged according to the flesh (John 8:15). The Spirit of the Lord within them had been dulled or even completely seared. They were unable to discern and thus see the Truth of who He was because of the darkness which surrounded them
Isn’t this the case with so many today? Through their willful actions in life, they’ve made choices that have taken them away from even having the ability to know God. Their flesh has overwhelmed their sensibility; it has made Truth elusive or non-existent to them. It has made darkness their false friend.
The way of the world is to walk the broad road to destruction (Matthew 7:13). Unfortunately the majority of those around us will travel this dead-end highway. We who know and love the Lord don’t always get our way through our hopes and prayers for the ones we love. Regardless, we should never give up hope.
God hears our prayers. They are a fragrant incense to Him (Revelation 5:8). Let us do the work the Lord has commissioned us to do in our own spheres. Let us never neglect reflecting His light through our lives. Perhaps God will grant us our prayers so that some of these who appeared as hopeless will turn to Him. He is merciful beyond all that we understand. Glory to Him!