Tony Elder

Tony Elder

Have you seen the recent TV commercial for a virtual reality system? Reality is personified as a character who keeps getting booted out of the game or knocked out of the picture. The message conveyed repeatedly in bold print to the viewers is that they can “defy reality.”

Such a concept may be harmless for someone looking to play a game or escape into a world of fantasy for a few minutes. However, reality seems to be taking quite a hit in our day. I don’t believe people need much encouragement either to deny reality or think they can defy it. What’s real, true, and genuine is often ignored or isn’t even seen as a relevant factor. More value is put on perception rather than reality and on subjective feelings than objective truth. We’re seeing this affect many areas of our lives. Reality often takes a backseat in determining a person’s guilt or innocence, in the aftermath of a police-related shooting, and in various other issues that get politicized or where emotions run rampant. It’s not unusual today to hear a news reporter or other narrator make contradictory statements to the video footage that is being shown even while they speak. People really do think they can defy reality.

While this trend in general should concern us, it should be even more disconcerting when it comes to defying the specific realities about God, His Word, and the principles He’s given us to live by. There are those in our society who believe they can not only ignore God and what He has said, but that they can do so without any repercussions. They defy the idea of sowing what you reap. They defy the reality of sin and judgment. They kick out any truths in God’s Word that doesn’t fit with their way of thinking. And they believe they can get away with it. They’re living in a virtual world of their own creation while believing they’re not going to be held accountable for their actions.

Such an attitude from an unbelieving world shouldn’t surprise us, but a similar spirit infiltrates the church as well. These days I seem to hear preachers declaring less and less the prophetic proclamation, “Thus says the Lord” and more and more their own alternate version of reality with statements like “This is what I would like to think”. And in the process they are often guilty of defying reality. Some are saying, “I would like to think that eventually everyone is going to make it to heaven,” in defiance of the Bible’s clear teachings about heaven and hell, salvation and judgment. Some are saying, “I would like to think that God will honor love and commitment in whatever form of relationship it takes.” In doing so, they’re defying the reality of what God says about love, family, marriage and relationships. Others may declare, “I’d like to think that people of all religions will be accepted by God,” while defying what He says about idolatry and the exclusive nature of Christ and His sacrifice for our sins.

There may be a lot of things we would like to think, but do those ideas fit with reality? We may try to form our own version of what’s real and live accordingly. However, one day we’re going to wake up and realize the truth. Hopefully, it will be here in this life while we can still correct our path. But if not, one day we’ll stand before God and have to answer for defying Him and His Word. That’s a reality we all need to come to terms with.

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The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by e-mail at


I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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