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Lord, Give Us The Courage To Speak Truth To Our Hearts


I went to visit a man today for the first time.  I went to see him because I had heard that he was just diagnosed with terminal cancer. It was so clear from the very beginning of our conversation that this man is genuinely nice and likeable. I went there knowing that he had a reputation of being fair and honest with all of his clients and I quickly discovered that all of this is true.

As we began to talk this man mentioned that when the doctors told him that he had cancer they apologized because the signs of this were present at his last doctors appointment but they did not respond appropriately and now the cancer is inoperable and terminal.  In other words, this man’s serious symptoms were seen but he was not diagnosed properly and there was no immediate actions taken.


Overall this man seems to be taking all of this rather well.  In fact, I would say that this man is handling it a little too well.  I say this because whenever I would try to steer the conversation toward any biblical understanding of these things this man was content in his situation but I heard little that would lead me to believe that this man has a saving faith.  This man has confidence even in the face of these things but I am not sure that it is based upon the truths of Scripture or upon a person trust in Christ through his understanding of the Gospel. 


For example, I asked if he was a Christian and he said his wife was a Baptist and this implied that he knows where he is going.  I asked if he had a bible and he said it was buried somewhere in his house and he probably would not look for it.  I asked if I could bring him a bible and he said that he was too busy to read it even if I brought it (John 8:31-32).  He then went on to tell me that he would spend the time he has left working on his hobby farm and fishing.  It seems as though his hobbies, like so many of our hobbies, will keep him so busy that he will not be able to attend to his greatest need (Matthew 16:24; Luke 9:59-62, Luke 14:26-35). 


This story is sad for two reasons.  First, it is sad because his doctors admitted that they could have helped him if they had responded better to the initial symptoms that he had.  Since they did not diagnose him appropriately they missed their opportunity to provide meaningful and helpful care that may have prevented this.  Secondly, this is a sad story because it appears that this man is misdiagnosing his spiritual sickness and need for salvation.  The latter diagnosis is far more significant than the former (Matthew 10:28; Luke 12:16-21).  One misdiagnosis brings physical death but the latter brings eternal judgment with no possibility of salvation after death (Hebrews 9:27).


Ray Haas has often said that if he were to give a cancer free person 10 free chemo treatments they would not think that the gift was all that great even though it would be worth many thousands of dollars. A healthy person would surely decline his offer and they would not receive this treatment.  Why would a healthy person ever take one chemo treatment, let alone ten! However, if you gave that same gift to someone with cancer they would rejoice and quickly receive the gift in the hope that they would be made better by subjecting their bodies to it. 


Similarly, in order for anyone to receive the gospel we must know that sin is our greatest danger.  We cannot ignore this fact or lie to ourselves about our real condition before a holy God.  Death is the result of the Fall and it is a constant reminder that we need salvation if we are to be able to live with Him forever in heaven.  We must come to Jesus because He is the Great Physician. There are not many ways to God. No, just one and that is through His Son Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:13-14).


David speaks to the LORD in Psalm 15 and asks, “O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent?  Who shall dwell on your holy hill?”  Then the answer is given, “He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart…”. 

It is not uncommon for us to speak many things to ourselves.  For example, we tell ourselves many things to bring ourselves comfort and solace when a diagnosis like this comes.  But, O, how difficult it is for a sinner to speak the truth in his heart even when that person is facing physical death and a very real judgment before a holy God which comes after that.  It is impossible for us to speak the truth to our heart apart from knowing or reading the Word of God (Hebrews 4:11-13).  It is only by reading the Word of God, or by hearing someone who will speak the truth of the Word of God to us, that we can speak truth to our hearts with the help of the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth (John 16:13).


Revelation 21:8 says, “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”  Wouldn’t it be true that part of what is meant in the phrase, “and all liars”, is the fact that so many men and woman will not speak the truth to themselves about their real condition.  When they needed to respond to the truth the most they lied to themselves and believed that lie.  They faced death, a moment that should bring us fear apart from Christ (Hebrews 2:15), with a foolish confidence because they chose to not speak the truth to themselves but instead they believed a lie. 


The truth is, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Sin is our greatest danger by far.  If we will not speak the truth to ourselves we will find on the day of judgment we will stand before the Holy LORD of Hosts and we will cry out, “Woe is me! For I am lost!”  (Isaiah 6:5; Proverbs 5:13-14) However, by then it will be to late.  Today is the day of salvation and we are not to harden our hearts against Him who speaks to us and warns us from heaven (Hebrews 3&4; 12:25).


Lord, I pray that you will draw this man to you in the coming days that he might be saved.  I pray that he will lives these days in such a way that his family will be left with great assurance that he had trusted in You and that he loved You above all other things.  May this man and all of his family be saved (Acts 16:30-31). Amen.


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