Tuesday, June 7, 2016

how do we know what's wrong?

“At our church, we believe...”
“Our stance on xyz is...”
You should do this, but never do that.”
“A good Christian would never...”
“You can't be a Christian and vote for...”

I don't know about you, but I'm getting pretty tired of hearing things that start like that. It seems those kinds of comments are especially prevalent right now, pouring in from both sides of very issue. Every time you turn around, somebody new is weighing in on the issues. We're bombarded by people telling us what our stance should be, what we should be offended by, and how we're being offensive to other people.

Sometimes, it's enough to make me want to close out the world.

If you've ever been around me, you've very likely heard me say that I don't like people. While that's not exactly true (I just don't like incompetence and ignorance), it is true that sometimes I wouldn't mind becoming a bit of a hermit.

As followers of Christ, there are some things that we have to take a stance on. And in the world we are living in today, more and more that puts us making a stand against society.

It's wrong to:
~hate your brothers and sisters in Christ (1 John 2:9)
~live in habitual sin (1 John 3:4-6)

These things are sins:
~sex outside of Biblical marriage
not to mention a whole list of other things that the world (and even some “churches” now) tell us “really aren't that bad” (see Galatians 5:19-21 for a starting point).

Sometimes it's okay to close out all the voices that are yelling at you and telling you how and what to believe. Ignore all the stuff being spewed from both sides and go back to the source.

“The word of God, you see, is alive and moving; sharper than a double-edged sword;
piercing the divide between soul and spirit, joints and marrow;
able to judge the thoughts and will of the heart.
No creature can hide from God: God sees all.
Everyone and everything is exposed, opened for His inspection;
and He's the One we will have to explain ourselves to.”
~Hebrews 4:12 & 13

It doesn't matter what stance the people around you are telling you to take. It doesn't matter if the truth offends people. We have one measuring stick for right and wrong, and that's God word. It's not the opinion of the newest bestselling Christian self-help author, or the biggest megachurch preacher, or your best friend, or your conscience.

None of those are infallible.

If you have questions about where you should stand on an issue, by all means—ask a believer you trust for an opinion. Don't just stop there, though, because an opinion is all that is. We're told to test everything, to see if it measures up against what God has told us, and the only way to do that is to dive into the Scriptures.

That's not always an easy thing to do. Some of the writers are hard to understand at times (Peter even said that about Paul—look at 2 Peter 3:15 & 16). The stories aren't always G-rated (explore the Old Testament if you don't believe me, starting with Judges and 1 & 2 Kings), and the heroes are far from perfect more often than not (David comes to mind...). Sometimes it's hard to pull everything together in your mind.

But the good thing is, w aren't left to our own devices. We have the power and knowledge of God behind us, we have the mercy of the cross before us, we have the fellowship of Jesus beside us, and we have the guidance of the Holy Spirit within us.

Hebrews 4 goes on to say in verses 14-16:
“Since we have a great High Priest, Jesus, the Son of God
who has passed through the heavens from death into new life with God,
let us hold tightly to our faith. For Jesus is not some high priest
who has no sympathy for our weaknesses and flaws.
He has already been tested in every way that we are tested;
but He emerged victorious, without failing God.
So let us step boldly to the throne of grace,
where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most.”

So when you need answers, don't turn to the world. Don't even turn exclusively to preachers and teachers. Instead, go to God on His throne and ask Him for His grace to understand His word.

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