Our verse for today comes from John 1:21, ” And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the Prophet?’ And he answered, ‘No.’ “
Someone once said, ” Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt. ” Peter Pan said in J.M. Barrie’s famous work, ” I wasn’t crying about mothers…I was crying because I can’t get my shadow to stick on. Besides, I wasn’t crying. ” Hemingway wrote, ” You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. ” Oscar Wilde quipped, ” I could deny it if I liked. I could deny anything if I liked. ” One author divulged, ” To find out if she really loved me, I hooked her up to a lie detector. And just as I suspected, my machine was broken. ” And many of us can relate to the lady who wrote, ” Even as your body betrays you, your mind denies it. ” Coming to terms with our own states of denial can be an ugly affair. Some have brutal childhoods in their past that needed to be overcome. Others are currently gripped by an addiction but cannot accept it as such. Many of us have character flaws and shortcomings that we simply choose to ignore rather than deal with. There is some truth to the quote, ” Most men would rather deny a hard truth than face it. ” When the Pharisees questioned John about his identity, he refused to identify himself as Elijah or the Prophet. He had no interest in gathering a following or making a name for himself. His quoting from Isaiah seems to imply that he is just one voice crying out on behalf of the Lord, and any number of the religious leaders of the day could and should be doing exactly what he is.
But later, Jesus contradicts John’s denial, stating that he was Elijah, that his message and presence was exactly what Malachi had foretold. When you deny in your heart what God is revealing to you, when you shuffle past the conviction or dismiss the acute awareness, what are you really saying? When God opens your eyes to an ugliness within, how does your spirit respond? When His truth conflicts with your habits and history, which wins out? John and Jesus were both right, but can your denial and God’s revelation also both coexist?
As we seek Him today, let the Holy Spirit work in your heart, helping you to see and accept who you are, and what He can deliver you from.