On a daily basis, it seems, I speak with people who are either not interested in their spiritual life, or seem to be blinded by a religion that they follow only because it is the religion of their family or of the part of the world that they come from.
On the one hand, those that are not interested in their spiritual life are frequently concerned primarily about making money or demonstrating how popular they are, or how cool they are. Or maybe in talking about the women that they have been with… as if these are the important things in life that are worth spending time to talk about. In the midst of our conversations, they might even open TikTok and start flipping through videos there.
On the other hand, there are those that follow a particular religion because it is what they have learned since when they grew up, or because that is the religion of their country, or of the region where they are from. They actually know very little about it except for the religious actions or some basic practices, but to know why they are doing what they are doing? There are few that can speak to these things. Even to understand some basic historical facts and base their understanding of spiritual things on these facts? No. Instead, they prefer to either remain in the dark or believe a changed version of history in an effort to somehow support their own view of the world.
I was thinking about all of this today primarily because I read this in 2 Thessalonians:
They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.2 Thessalonians 2:10
Each day, we plead with God that he will open their eyes and open their hearts to know Jesus so that they can come to him. So frequently, though, it seems that we are working in vain because of a seeming wall of mist and darkness that we must walk through in an attempt to get through to these people.
How can I begin to explain this wall? Paul seems to give some explanation of it in the next verse:
For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.2 Thessalonians 2:11
Clearly, Paul has been experiencing similar problems as he has proclaimed and explained the Gospel to the people of his day as well. He says that, because they have refused the truth, God himself gives the delusion to these people so that they will continue to believe the lie.
Honestly, that is difficult for me to reconcile. Doesn’t God want everyone to be saved? In other places, the scriptures say that as well. So, how can it be that God would give them this powerful delusion so that they will believe a lie if he wants them to be saved?
I think it has to do with the fact that the people want to believe the lie, that they find comfort in the lie. Whether it would be their comfort in the lie of their religious cultural background, or the lie that the things of this world such as money or fame can satisfy them, they prefer the lie to the truth that God is calling them into his kingdom, but that he is the king of their lives, not them. And so God gives them the delusion, essentially saying to these people: “You prefer the lie? OK, you can have the lie since that is what you want.” And so as we connect with these people, we find them surrounded by this “wall” of misty fog and darkness that traps them in those lies.
So I can only pray: God, you know the people that we are trying to reach with your truth. I pray that you will remove the veil, remove the darkness that surrounds them, and allow them to see you. Allow them to see what you have done for them through Jesus. Bring them to Jesus so that they may know you. Use all of the tools at your disposal so that these people will be saved. Lord, I’m begging you to move and to work here amongst those that you have put in our path. Do not allow your word to return void. It never will. But instead allow your Word to penetrate into each heart. I ask you this in the powerful name of Jesus!