On what do you base your values? This is an important question because your values will influence your decisions.
For the Pharisees, the Law of Moses and the words of the prophets were very important. But for them, something else superceded even these, though they might not have admitted it. That thing was their tradition. And in some cases, they completely let go of the commandments of God in order to follow their religious traditions, as we saw in the last blog. Jesus condemned them for this, saying,
You nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. (Matthew 15:6)
Unfortunately, there are a lot of Christians who live that way today. They let go of the commands of God in their lives in favor of something else.
For some people, it’s their culture and traditions. I know of some Japanese Christians that still offer incense at the Buddhist altar. Some make the excuse, “Well, it’s just a cultural thing. It really doesn’t mean anything. It’s just something we Japanese do. But in doing so, they are letting go of the commands of God for the sake of tradition, much as the Pharisees did.”
But culture can shape us in other ways. Nowadays, we see a strong homosexual movement in the United States, where even people who say they believe in Christ say it’s okay. What’s happened? They are bowing to a culture that is becoming more and more godless every day. They are conforming their values to meet the standards of the culture, and in doing so, they again let go of the commands of God.
Other people let go of the commands of God for their own personal opinions. They know, for example, that God has said Christians should not marry unbelievers. But they think, “How bad can it be? I love this guy. I’m sure it will work out.” And by marrying the unbeliever, they let go of the clear teaching of God.
How about you? What is the standard for your life? Culture? Traditions? Your own personal opinion?
There can only be one standard for our lives, and that is the Word of God. Cultures change. Traditions change. Opinions change. But God’s word never changes.
As Isaiah said,
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever. (Isaiah 40:8)
So let us not base our values on things that change. Let us base our values on the word of God which never changes. And if we do, we will find blessing.