Lifelines: …isms

The world is a ball of confusion about religion. Take your pick from atheism, pantheism, deism, polytheism, monotheism; there is an “ism” to suit every taste. Deciphering the difference and deciding which is correct are our most important challenges. Nothing will affect us more. That single conclusion will impact every subsequent decision for the rest of our lives, and then comes death and judgment. It is a weighty matter.

Even within the broad category of “Christianity,” there is a multitude of options. We are encouraged to join the church of our choice, and many people do. They search out the group that most closely believes as they do with minimal adjustment required. Or they look for a particular style of worship. Their preferences become the standard. What they like is what they seek. Their religion is one of self-centered worldliness dressed in a robe. It is God-honoring in its appearance, at least to human eyes it is. However, all is not as it appears.

“These people honor Me with their lips…(Matthew 15:8).” Jesus said it, and He was not the first. The Lord communicated that very idea hundreds of years before through the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 29:13). Their words certainly sounded good, but the people were wasting their time (Matt. 15:9). When detached hearts elevate human traditions to an undeserved authoritative position all of the meaning of worship is removed. There is but one authority, and the Lord’s church submits to it.

When the suffering was done, Jesus met with His disciples. The enemy had been conquered. Death was defeated. All of the power that it possessed could not hold Him, and the empty tomb proved it. The Lord emerged victorious proclaiming His exclusive authority (Matt. 28:18). He has it all. Now it is up to us to realize it and act accordingly, which is a huge responsibility.

It is impossible to overstate the significance of His authoritative word. It is a revelation of His mind that has been placed in our hands. Now we must get those ideas into our minds and lives. What an extraordinary blessing it is to be exposed to His thoughts. We have access to His innermost desires for humanity. In the past the Lord’s people have squandered that blessing. May we never be guilty of the same sin. It turned their worship into a meaningless exercise and their lives into misguided journeys. At least they were from God’s perspective, and His is the only one that counts.