Our desires for worldy goods are to be replaced by desires for the things that will last for eternity (Colossians 3:1-2). The only way to really know what those new desires are is to open God's Word and prayerfully seek His Face (1 Chronicles 16:11). We need to get into His Word and hide it in our hearts so we won't sin against Him (Psalm 119:11).
We need to let go of this world and walk as Jesus did (1 John 2:6), knowing that His way is not just the right way, it's the only way because He is the Way (John 14:6). Yet there seems to be so much failure within the church in this regard. Why is that?
A huge part of the problem is that too many of us like to think we're theologians, studying God when the reality is that we're more like hyper-denominationalists. We often study God's Word and look for verses to support our chosen denominational theology while ignoring or downplaying verses that seem to contradict our denominational orthodoxy. That's the problem.
We're not really studing God's Word at all, we're studying our denominational beliefs. And, of course, we always want to believe that our denomination "get's it right" and so there's no need to question what we believe. But Jesus said we need to live by "every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4), not every word that proceeds out of our denomination.
God's Word needs to be the means by which we determine whether or not our denomination is teaching the whole Word of God. We should judge our beliefs and our actions by the Word of God. Instead, too often, without even realizing it we end up judging God's Word by our denominational beliefs. We pick and choose verses that support our beliefs and reject any that do not. This is always wrong because it always leads to error.
We all have a tendency to do that at times. And if we're honest with ourselves, we'll acknowledge it. And then we'll repent and turn back to God.
I read somewhere that there are over 32,000 denominations. That begs the question: how can all of them be "right"? They all have some particluar emphasis that must set them apart from the other 31,999 denomminations otherwise they wouldn't have split off. How can this be?
Are all of them right? Or, are all of them partially right? Are any of them flat out wrong?
And who's to say? Folks from each denomination will be convinced that they are right. But the answer to that question has already been answered for us in God's Word.
God Himself gets to say what's right and what's wrong. He gets the final Word on all things. That's the point of what Jesus said in Matthew 4:4.
A lot of strange beliefs would be put out of their misery and people freed from the bondage of man-made rules if we'd only learn to use nothing BUT the Word of God.
For instance, Calvinists believe that everything that happens, happens because God ordained it. Even sin? Yes, they say. It happened, therefore God must have ordained it. But that's not just crazy, it's blasphemous. God can't sin. God can't be tempted. And God never tempts anyone to sin (James 1:13-15). Man sins because he's in rebellion against God. Not because God caused him to sin.
Catholics believe that they have to eat Christ's flesh and drink His blood week after week because of their theological beliefs based on a few verses in John chapter 6. But is that what Jesus meant when He talked about "eating his flesh" and "drinking his blood?" Of course not. And the explanation is right there in John chapter 6 just a few verses past where their denomination chooses to stop looking. Jesus clearly explains that "the flesh profits nothing. His words are spirit and they are life" (John 6:63). So He's not talking about literally gnawing on His flesh, He's talking about a spiritual concept of abiding in Him by feeding on Him spiritually. Just as Jesus clearly states in Matthew 4:4.
The same is true for the nonsensical teaching that when we're saved, all of our sins past, present and future are forgiven. Where in the Scripture does it say that? Or even imply it? The truth is that it doesn't say that. Period. But that belief is central to a denominational teaching so they MUST hang onto it. Or, they have to let got of their denominational belief. But that's just plain wrong. Because man doesn't live by every word that proceeds out of our denomination of choice, but out of the mouth of God.
When our beliefs conflict with God's Word, our beliefs MUST change to conform to what God has revealed.
God's Words are timeless (Psalm 119:89). Jesus said heaven and earth would pass but His words would never pass (Matthew 24:35). Why? Because His Words were given to Him by His Father in heaven (John 12:48-50).
God can't be wrong. But men often are. It's time for God's people to listen to Him and learn to judge all things based on His Word. And if it means altering our thinking to bring it in line with His Word, then we must do it.
After all, we're talking eternity here. We need to get it right.
Keep looking up!