We spend a lot of the time ignoring the inconvenient truths in our lives. I am regularly turning down the volume on my conscience when it points out that the cake I am about to eat is directly linked to the tightness of my suit. Or the extra episode of the box set that I'm about to watch is directly related to how tired and grumpy I will feel in the morning, having gone to bed an hour later. We ignore the evidence so that we can do what we want. We place our desires over truths. Feelings over facts. Our loves over logic.
Now in one way this all sounds very romantic. Living life to the full sort of stuff. The problem is that it reaps consequences. From needing a new suit, to feeling convicted by my lack of patience and anger with my kids over breakfast. In the end our feelings are not always a great measure of reality. One of the marks of maturing into an adult is realising that we can't always do what we want in life! Even more importantly, what we want to do is not always the best thing for us.
I could spend the rest of this blog pointing out how this principle is being abandoned in our culture. How postmodernism is now so accepted as the philosophical framework of our society, that we allow people to decide who or what they are based solely on the way that feel. But I'm more concerned about the way that people abandon Jesus, not because the gospel is untrue but inconvenient.
When I first became a Christian I spent a lot of time trying not to be one. As a 19 year old rugby playing university student Jesus Christ was morally inconvenient. The problem was that I couldn't get away from the fact that the gospel was true. So I had to submit to him as my Lord and Saviour. If he really loved me as I knew he did, then he also only wanted the best for me.
One of the saddest things that I see in church life is people drifting from following Jesus because he doesn't fit in with their lifestyle. Jesus meets a man who seemed eager to follow him in Mark 10:
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17)
The problem is that this man hasn't grasped that there is nothing that he can do to inherit eternal life. Jesus points this out by asking him if he's kept the commandments. Naively he says that he has. Totally missing that Jesus has not said anything about the commandments relating to God. And then Jesus, because he loves him and wants the best for him, asks a question that shows who is god in this man's life.
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21)
The man is faced with a dilemma. Who does he love the most: God or money? Mark records...
At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. (Mark 10:22)
His decision doesn't make him happy. I guess that's because he knows he's doing the wrong thing. He was rejecting truth for convenience.
This rich man shows us that it's only when we see our helplessness before God and our need of Jesus that we will love him enough to follow him even when it's inconvenient. Even when we don't feel like it.