Everybody is struggling. The only difference is that some are struggling to do right while others are struggling to hide the wrong they do.
When a person lies, doesn’t he know it? Isn’t he conscious about it? Can one repeatedly lie until his lie becomes the truth for him? Truth is not subjective, therefore, the first witness against a lie is the liar himself. Many a time, a liar may witness against himself without intending or knowing it. The contradictions and inconsistencies that characterize the story or the life of a liar are like interlocking stones on a dark path. The walker cannot be stable on that path because however well he tries, he will stumble on the stones as well as dash his feet against them.
People lie to one another because they always have a chance to get away with it. Suppose it was unthinkable for a lie to go undetected, no one would bother lying. While people can lie to one another, it is unthinkable to lie to God. The Bible is emphasizes:
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
When people will finally stand before God on the judgment day, there would be no need to attempt a lie of any kind. A child can steal sugar and lie about it. When a mirror is placed before him to behold his face spotting grains of sugar that got stuck there, he would be embarrassed to realize that he has been busted. This chapter is an attempt to place a mirror in front of people who try to lie about their consciousness regarding the life to come. If they heed, they would not only save themselves from the embarrassment that they are bound to experience before God, but, more importantly, claim their heritage in the Kingdom of God.
Every human being is wired with an alarm system called ‘conscience’. God didn’t make a mistake of not setting up this alarm system—it is part of man’s makeup. Like an alarm meant to wake people up from sleep (or alert people when something needs to be attended to), conscience is meant to sensitize people when they are about to do a wrong, or convict them after they have done wrong. The sleeper can choose to wake up immediately the alarm rings, or choose to snooze it. He can also switch it off altogether that he may enjoy his sleep undisturbed. When an alarm is snoozed, it means it is silenced temporarily; it is like telling it: later, not now! We know that things always go wrong when one doesn’t wake up at the set time—one can miss an important appointment just for wanting to sleep a bit more, and it can take as little as one minute to cause a big loss.
When the alarm is snoozed, it means one is not completely against waking up, but he buys his time. It is common knowledge that every minute counts when it is time to wake up. One cannot afford to dilly dally in bed when he has an appointment. I have realised that time moves very fast in the morning, and that one minute is a precious time.
When one switches off the alarm, it is like saying, forget it, I’m not waking up! When he falls back into sleep after switching off the alarm, there wouldn’t be a guarantee that he will wake up anytime soon. He can sleep through an extremely important time only to wake up when it is too late. The problem with sleep is that when one is in a deep sleep, one doesn’t even know he is sleeping. Could this explain the fact that when a liar ignores the first warnings of his lie and instead repeats it, people tend to accept it for the truth?
If we are willing to listen, the alarm system—the conscience—is always in constant contact with our consciousness. If we are not willing, there occurs communication breakdown between the two. We may not blame the Engineer when we tamper with the system ourselves. Just like the alarm, the conscience can be responded to immediately, ‘snoozed’ or put off altogether.
God’s judgement is not just reserved for the ‘religious’ only. Some people claim that they are not religious, as a result, they think that this explains and, by extension, mitigates their inability to or lack of interest in responding to spiritual matters. The truth, however, is that no one is exempted from God’s universal requirements which stipulates that everybody mustbehave failure to which the concerned people will have to give an account before God (Rom. 14:12, Heb. 4:13). This is why the Scripture says:
"If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
"For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them)."
—Romans 2: 13-15 (NIV, italics: author’s emphasis).
Why then are some people ‘comfortable without’ God in their life? Sleep, as we have seen, can make one relax (rest) in a dangerous place. Wasn’t Sisera, a commander of the Canaanite army, yet he was killed by a woman who was not even a soldier? And why did Jael manage to kill him without a fight? She soothed him with milk and covered him with blanket; lulled, he fell fast asleep (Judg. 4:21). Sleeping in the enemy’s territory is as good as being dead. The Bible talks about people who have a reputation of being alive but they are dead (Rev. 3:1).
To some people the conscience is as good as dead, having been seared as with a hot iron (1 Tim. 4:2), but one day it will ‘resurrect’ to contend with the essence of reality that they have suppressed all along. To some people, the conscience is asleep, but a time is coming when it will wake up from the dreamland and contend with what they would have wished was a nightmare.
This time is variedly referred to as the day of visitation or the day of the Lord. It is a day whose implication depends on which position He gets one. It is like the arrival of a police officer. To the robber, it is a time for reckoning; to the robbed, it is a time of relief.
We can play games but we will get corned when we acknowledge and pay tribute to what we have all along been ridiculing. And this is not because we have just experienced an epiphany. To the contrary, we will be aware that all along we knew it but chose to fool ourselves.
When people are bent on having their way, they would reject the prophet of God when they know too well that he is a prophet (Jer. 42:1-43:7). A day is coming when people who make a fool of a prophet and considered a spiritual man mad will be recompensed. We read the following:
"The days of visitation are come, the days of recompence are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred."
The Apostle Peter shows that evil-doers will be busted when their hypocrisy is exposed. They are being hypocrites against their own conscience:
"Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."
—1 Peter 2:12.
The very people who referred to prophets as fools and spiritual man mad, will on the account of the testimony and consistency of the believers give God the glory due Him when He finally appears. This is also what the Apostle Paul writes about when he declares that every knee shall bow unto God (Rom. 14:11-12, Philipp. 2:10-11).
In a cat and mouse game, the mouse would be wise to stop the game because it is his life that is at stake. It is not wise playing games in a case where eternity is at stake.
Note to the reader:
This article is an excerpt from chapter 9 of the book: “Mistake God Never Made.” Read the whole chapter here or get the book here.
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