“Why do all the faithless live at ease?…You are always on their lips but far from their hearts. Yet you know me, O LORD; you see me and test my thoughts about you” (Jeremiah 12:1-3).
The faithless live at ease. The word of God does not judge the thoughts and attitudes of their hearts (Heb. 4:12). The Father of Spirits does not arrange circumstances in order to test and discipline them (Heb. 12:9). It is not as though they are irreligious. Jeremiah says they speak often of the Lord. Yet, their basic desire is not as David’s: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23, 24).
To be sure, the lives of the faithless have an appearance of freedom: they can pursue any job, dream, spouse, or ministry they want without their motives being sifted or challenged. This can seem unfair to those seeking to be known by God. Like Jeremiah, they may question His justice, especially when intimacy with Christ comes at the loss of personal fulfillment or benefit (Jer. 12:1; Phil. 3:7, 8).
God responds to Jeremiah with a question of His own: “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?…Your brothers, your own family—even they have betrayed you” (Jer. 12:5, 6). In other words, knowing God will get even more costly. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he is not able to be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). Faithful ones, do not covet what moth and rust destroy, what thieves steal (Matt. 6:19). Rather, “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross…so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb. 12:1-3).