I had a friend who grew up in a community and a home where religion was a mainstay. In her home there were many rules and everyone was expected to adhere to those rules. This is how it was. As she grew older she became aware that there were others who did not share in her beliefs nor live by those same rules. She began to question her faith, and to her parents dismay, she has strayed far away from those rules and traditions that she was taught, even to the point of publicly mocking her family, close friends, and others who follow any religion.
It is a pattern that we see so often in life. There are many who follow the rules, regulations, and religion taught to them, and then.... when exposed to something different, get swayed by popular opinions and begin to believe something different than what they have been traditionally taught. I have heard it said that any belief is nothing more than a thought or opinion that you have come to treat as automatically correct. Once we label it as a "belief" we convince ourselves that it is different and must not be questioned. I would ask, is this true?
I grew up in that very same religion this friend mentioned above but, I was taught in a different manner. We were given many of those same rules to live by, but we were not forced and coerced into living them. We were taught that these rules were there to guide, protect and help us. We were given the opportunity to live by the rules. We were given the opportunity to choose to live in righteousness, for righteousness is chosen and cannot be forced. We were taught to govern ourselves within the boundaries that God has set for they will never change. We were taught in the same manner as the Savior taught when he invited the those who would be his apostles to "come follow me" He did not force them to come and be a disciple but called out to them who would hear and follow.
Jesus Christ himself challenged the popular beliefs of those in Jerusalem and surrounding areas. He challenged those who "professed to believe." He set the pattern for us to follow. We cannot fall prey to the idea that something must be true because that’s what lots of people believe. The number of believers has no bearing on how correct it is. There was a time when just about everyone believed, in fact they knew for an obvious fact that the world was flat. That didn’t make them right. How can we tell if our beliefs and actions are correct? How do we know we are on the correct path? I would suggest asking questions? If we do not question, if we do not challenge our beliefs we are easily swayed by popular opinion.
From my friend Caleb Warnock's blog
Two years ago, I was at a local university to hear a speech by New York Times editor and writer Tom Zeller Jr. While taking questions from the audience, he was asked about how the media is doing when it comes to helping the people understand complex issues.
His answer jolted me.
Media has changed, he said -- and so have we, the consumers of media.
"It is easier than ever now for individuals seeking information to find only information that affirms their preconceived notions of an idea," Zeller said. "It is very difficult to be exposed to information that challenges your point of view."
This answer was interesting to me. We live in a world of information that is mind boggling. It is easy to find people that believe the same way you do. It is also very easy to let that be a way to excuse ourselves into thinking that what we are doing is right. It makes it easier to let sin creep into our lives. It is easy to find someone who will stand with you in the wrong. I would suggest that the time is now to question some of your beliefs and habits to examine where you stand with God and Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if in man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. Have you become changed through your belief in Christ? Are you following Christ, or the things of the world? Are you becoming a new creature in Christ, or are you an old creature of habit?
In the United states it used to be that the Christian ideals were upheld in society itself. It was easier to live a Christian life because it was popular to believe and uphold those values. It was a part of everyday life and society. Things have changed. We have come to a point that upholding Christian faith takes much more strength. It is not popular to be a Christian anymore, but as a Christian I still stand. Who is standing with me? If you have not decided for sure, I would suggest that now is the time to decide and show whether you are on the Lord's side. You cannot stand with the world and Christ too. They are not compatible, society does not uphold the things of Christ anymore. The time has come to choose sides. "Choose ye this day, whom you will serve....... but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord"
May the Lord bless each of you as you examine your own lives and strive to come closer to him.