As individuals, we always want to believe that our way is best. If my beliefs and actions seem right, then there must be some verse or passage in the Bible to support this way of thinking. So many times, our approach in reading and studying the Bible follows this pattern. We end up searching the Scriptures to reinforce what I want to believe and the way that I want to act.
We have been taught and modeled for us along the way to use the Bible as a mere handbook to “prove” my way. Churches have also many times led us in this way. Whether it be in topical sermons or sermon series’, we have learned to jump from one verse or passage to prove another. But using the Bible to give approval is dangerous on every level. Rather than reading and studying the Bible to seek to know God and what it means to follow Him, many today only look for verses and passages to justify their beliefs and lifestyles. What is greatly missed is knowing and applying “the whole purpose of God”. (Acts 20:27)
Instead of humbly submitting ourselves to the Lord and seeking obedience to Him, people end up defining Christianity on their terms. That is why there is so much confusion today as to what truly defines Christianity. If we each get to decide how to define the Christian faith based upon what I “believe” about Jesus, then it is no wonder there is a broadening acceptance of all sorts of beliefs and lifestyles as being “Christian”.
Where this problem becomes even worse is when we are confronted by sinful and wrong beliefs and actions, we have to decide to either follow God’s Way or our own. Sadly, for many, they end up choosing their own way. And while it is always difficult to hear that we could possibly be wrong, if we are really seeking Truth, we must be willing to adjust our lives to God and His Word. This takes each of us being teachable and looking to correct those things that are contradictory to faith in Jesus and obedience to Him.
As our world continues into greater moral decay and rejecting God as King, it makes it difficult to stand against participating in sinful things. The life of a believer is requiring greater courage and strength to live according to God’s Way. And with the distinguishing marks of a believer and the world becoming more blurred, it becomes easier to seek to justify ourselves and live like the rest of the world to try and fit in.
We must return to submitting to the Lord rather than seeking permission to believe and live how we want.
Seeking permission doesn’t come from a place of seeking to do what God says. Seeking permission looks for approval for the things I want to believe and the way I want to live. Submitting to God comes from a place of wanting to be obedient to Him in all things. Submitting to God means that no matter the cost, I seek to repent of the things that are sinful and wrong, and strengthen the things from the Bible that are true. Permission and submission are in complete opposition to one another. Permission is about self and submission is about God. Submission doesn’t depend upon what I personally think or feel about the subject, but rather on surrendering my life to the Lord in order to live according to faith and seek to do what is right.
We must stop making excuses and twisting verses and passages to give us permission to continue to believe and live how we want, and start looking to become more obedient to the Lord. With so many issues from relationships, finances, moral conduct, and so much more, we must be careful that we find ourselves living by God’s Way and not our own. In doing so, we will know for certain that we are walking according to Biblical faith and not some man-made faith people call “Christianity”.
If we continue to seek to justify ourselves, we are saying that my way is more important and that I am unwilling to give up my beliefs and lifestyle. This is not living according to faith, but selfish idolatry.
We must continually be aware of our beliefs and actions and make sure we are questioning if what I believe and do are in accordance with Scripture. It takes great humility to be able to change the things we are confronted by in the Bible when we find they are different than what I may have been taught, believe, or are living by now. But I must quickly make those adjustments and not allow my stubbornness and pride to resist the Truth. I might be ashamed and embarrassed, but rather than allowing these things to dictate my response, I should be grateful knowing that the Lord has convicted me and drawn me back into the Truth.
Let us each consider our beliefs and ways and make sure we find ourselves always adjusting ourselves to the Truth. If we are constantly trying to find permission to live according to my way and not looking to submit to the Lord, we must repent of these things and get back walking with the Lord. May the Lord continue to work in our lives and bring us into the fullness of true faith in Him.