I once heard of John Gerstner being asked to speak to a friend's 20-year old daughter, who at college stopped attending church and claimed that she no longer believed in the fairy tales of the Bible. Rather than becoming involved in a debate over the veracity of Scripture, Gerstner asked instead, "So when did you start sleeping with your boyfriend?"
The same behavior can be seen every day in the political lives of people. There is the conservative Christian who despite confessing that God owns "the cattle on a thousand hills", has no problem in clear-cutting and strip-mining those hills to serve his greed. On the left there is my UConn dorm mate who despite being unable to even start her ethics paper on a rational defense of abortion, never the less would not abandon that position because of her deeper attachment to the free lifestyle it promised.
John Piper attacks this problem that that plagues each of us, from the simplest to the brainiest, in this meditation on Proverbs 22:13. As usual, brainy John wrings out deep truths from just a single sentence.
"The sluggard says, 'There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!"
- Proverbs 22:13
This is not what I expected the proverb to say. I would have expected it to say, The coward says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!” But it says “sluggard,” not “coward”. So the controlling emotion here is laziness, not fear. But what does laziness have to do with the danger of a lion in the street? We don’t say, “This man is too lazy to go do his work because there is a lion outside.”
The point is that the sluggard creates imaginary circumstances to justify not doing his work, and thus shifts the focus from the vice of his laziness to the danger of lions. No one will approve his staying in the house all day just because he is lazy.
One profound biblical insight we need to know is that our heart exploits our mind to justify what the heart wants. That is, our deepest desires precede the rational functioning of our minds and incline the mind to perceive and think in a way that will make the desires look right.
This is what the sluggard is doing. He deeply desires to stay at home and not work. There is no good reason to stay at home. So what does he do? Does he overcome his bad desire? No, he uses his mind to create unreal circumstances to justify his desire.
Doing the evil we love makes us hostile to the light of truth. In this condition the mind becomes a factory of half-truths, equivocations, sophistries, evasions and lies - anything to protect the evil desires of the heart form exposure and destruction.
Consider and be wise.