So the two of them searched, Silas trailing his blanket as he walked. “Is that Puppy?” Daddy asked when they saw a stuffed elephant. Silas shook his head no. “Is that Puppy?” and another shake of the head at the sock monkey. And another at the teddy bear, and another, and another. Finally, they found Puppy right where Daddy had placed him. “Is that Puppy?” he asked one more time, and Silas would nod yes and hold out his hands for the proffered pet. Then the thumb went into the mouth and the baby went into the bed, perfectly content.
One Christmas Eve, things did not work out so well. Silas had already had three naps due to the journey to grandma’s house and the various family stops along the way. He was wired by the excitement of lights and presents and people. Still, his eyes began to droop so the routine started, but when Puppy was “found” and Daddy asked, “Is that Puppy?” Silas looked at it and shook his head no. He had decided he did not want to go to bed, and as long as he couldn’t find Puppy he thought he wouldn’t have to.
After several more attempts, Daddy threw Puppy across the room to him. Silas looked down when the stuffed animal landed with a soft plop. Then he picked it up, shook his head no, and threw it back to Daddy. No Puppy, no bedtime. Of course, he found out differently, and not in the usual easy way.
We can all look at that childish attempt to deny the truth of the situation and smile. Isn’t that cute? And pretty smart for a sixteen month old. But only for a sixteen month old.
Have you ever known someone who was ill and refused to go to the doctor? As long as it isn’t diagnosed, that pain or that lump or that persistent cough isn’t anything bad. I am not sick. I am certainly not dying. We look on such people with pity. But we do it to ourselves all the time.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves, James 1:22.
For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself, Gal 6:3.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap, Gal 6:7.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us, 1 John 1:8.
For some reason we think we can pretend our way into Heaven. As the Pharisees who “for a pretense make long prayers” Matt 12:40, we think we can sit in the pew on Sunday, call ourselves Christians to our neighbors, and that’s all it takes to make it so. You might be surprised how many have already figured us out because that is also part of deceiving ourselves.
“But we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation,” Heb 6:9. I doubt anyone reading this really needs this lesson. Let it just be a little reminder not to fall into that trap.
The world, though, is still deceiving itself. It thinks that if it denies the existence of God that will make it so. Denying God means no accountability. It means I can live as I want without worrying about the consequences, such a comforting thought that it is easy to see why so many fall for it, regardless the increasing evidence of a Divine Creator.
Yet the world can shake its head all it wants. It can pick up the Puppy and throw it back, but nighttime will still come, and they will learn to believe the hard way, when it is much too late.
Because he hath stretched out his hand against God, And behaves himself proudly against the Almighty; Because he has covered his face with his fatness, And gathered fat upon his loins; He shall not depart out of darkness; The flame shall dry up his branches, And by the breath of God’s mouth shall he go away. Let him not trust in vanity, deceiving himself; For vanity shall be his recompense. For the company of the godless shall be barren, and fire shall consume the tents of bribery. They conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity, And their heart prepares deceit, Job 15:25,27,30,31,34,35.