“You say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).
WHY DON’T WE SEE THE DEPTH OF OUR NEED FOR GOD? How could something so important be so difficult to recognize? There are at least three reasons for our failure to see.
Distraction. The here and now has a powerful pull on us. That which is immediate seems more urgent than the remote, and the physical seems more important than the spiritual. “The world is a net; the more we stir in it, the more we are entangled” (Anonymous). It’s hard to hear the quiet, eternal beckoning of God when the clatter and clamor of the present rattles loudly in our ears. Yet the distractions of the present can be resisted, and God expects us to do so. There is a sense in which God is always saying to us, “This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” (Luke 12:20).
Delusion. When our faith fails to see beyond the here and now, we lose perspective on reality. Our sense of what’s important is turned upside down. Famished with hunger, for example, Esau foolishly traded away his birthright for a bowl of soup. Later when he saw what was really important, it was too late to get his birthright back. Like Esau, we are often deluded into thinking that what we want right now is all we will ever need. Our momentary temporal desires deceive us greatly as to their eternal value.
Denial. At times, there may be an even more serious problem. We may not see our need for God because we choose not to see it. Refusing to admit what we know deep down to be true, we may build our lives on pride and denial, rather than truth. The self-sufficient claim that we’re “doing all right” keeps us from seeing our true emptiness. If we lack either honesty or humility, we may suppress our need for God. “God is in none of his thoughts . . . He has said in his heart, ‘I shall not be moved; I shall never be in adversity'” (Psalm 10:4,6). “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God'” (Psalm 14:1). But ignoring our need doesn’t make it go away. To deny the obvious fact that our hearts long for Him is to deny the God who made us.
“The man who has lost contact with God lives on the same dead-end street as the man who denies him” (Milton A. Marcy).