When Reason Serves Rebellion

This devotional comes from Solid Joys, John Piper’s daily devotional application for iOS and Android.


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 from exposure and destruction.

Consider and be wise.


As John Piper said, “This is not what I expected the proverb to say,” so did I. I have never expected God to do so, especially in the time when I was saying, “There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!” Well, not literary of course.

I was having a problem about going outside for a kind of party tonight. The point is, my heart tried it best to convince me to not go. I knew it was wrong, yet I felt great attraction for it.

Then, God slapped me through this devotional. He convinced me that it is wrong and I should go.

Well, this is actually too private for me to write for now, but the point is even if I don’t like to go because my heart told me not to, it’s wrong and I have to go.

I know this is kind of foolish – even freakish – but remember not to always follow your desire and question it if it is parallel with God’s plan or not.

Lord Jesus blesses you!

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