Who Do You Think Should Decide Right and Wrong?
If everyone says it’s okay … is it really okay?
Is cultural holiness the bar for right and wrong?
What is cultural holiness?
“Many Christians have what we might call a “cultural holiness”. They adapt to the character and behavior pattern of Christians around them. As the Christian culture around them is more or less holy, so these Christians are more or less holy. But God has not called us to be like those around us. He has called us to be like Himself. Holiness is nothing less than conformity to the character of God.” ~Jerry Bridges
It’s so much easier to follow culture than it is to conform to God’s character.
Because we can be culturally holy without love.
Cultural holiness cares about how things seem and what people think but God calls His children to obey what He declares right and wrong for a higher purpose.
A purpose of love.
Let me make my case…
- your spouse disregards your feelings repeatedly.
- your teen rebels against your rules often.
- your best friend doesn’t value the things that are important to you.
You can’t help but wonder but question the sincerity of their love.
It’s natural. Because everyone knows . . . when you love someone, you want to please them, to make them happy.
Obeying God’s commands, living by what He says is right and wrong, is one of the ways you and I show our love for God.
The word obedience means – to do, keep, or follow commands, restrictions, wishes, instructions, etc.
God gave His people the 10 Commandments to make lives safer and happier, not to spoil their fun. It’s what loving parents do, isn’t it? Parents provide boundaries for their children because they love them.
God is love.
“One of Satan’s most frequently used deceptions is the notion that the commandments of God are meant to restrict freedom and limit happiness.” ~Henry B. Eyring
So, you and I have to reject Satan’s lies and culture’s idea of “holiness” and look to what Jesus said about God’s commands and obedience.
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
10 Commandments to Love God and Love People.
1. Have no other gods.
2. Don’t make, bow down, or worship idols (images or things).
3. Don’t misuse God’s name.
4. Observe the Sabbath and keep it holy.
5. Honor your mother and father.
6. Don’t murder.
7. Don’t commit adultery.
8. Don’t steal.
9. Don’t testify falsely about your neighbor.
10. Don’t covet what belongs to your neighbor. (Exodus 20:1–17)
Most of us would prefer it if these were just negotiable guidelines, rather than absolute truths. But when you and I remember that God’s commands are intended to bless and protect us, we begin to realize that anytime we fail to love the way God directed us, we hurt ourselves and others.
I would love to keep His commands perfectly. To love the way He wants me to.
But I don’t. I can’t. I won’t.
I’m stubborn and selfish. Maybe you are too.
And that stubborn selfishness wants to believe if the people around me say something is fun, acceptable, or beneficial, God’s commands are outdated or unnecessary.
So the internet and magazines publish articles like:
- Why Gossip is Actually Good for You.
- When it’s Okay to Lie.
- Why Adultery Can Help Save a Marriage.
Yeah, the Enemy is still holding out forbidden fruit trying to convince people that God is holding out on them. And like Eve, we’re still grabbing it and taking a bite.
If you’ve been the victim of spread gossip, if people have lied to you or about you, or your spouse has had an affair . . . You know it’s all a lie. None of those things are okay, helpful, or good for you.
God wants what is best for you and me because He loves us. Which is why He so clearly showed us a better way!
And when you and I trust God, we will naturally want to obey Him because we know obedience is one of the ways we can and worship Him.
I love the way Paul put it in Romans 12:1–2
So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to Him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to Him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship. Do not be shaped by this world, instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect.
So, it doesn’t matter how culture defines right and wrong, or what our friends say…
You and I will respond to God’s grace, mercy, and love with obedience disregarding the Enemy’s temptations and rejecting our own selfishness because we trust God’s personal, individual, one of a kind love.
No matter what the world says…
Obeying God is simply a way to show Him how very much we love Him.
May your week be blessed with faith, love, and friendship!
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