When decisions have to be made about right conduct, we sometimes consult every source of authority except the right one. We consider what our own previous practice has been. We look at what others have done in the past or are doing now. We ask the “experts.” We check what our family believes. We investigate what position “the church” has taken.
It’s hard to imagine how people who are Christians could forget that God’s word is our guide, but we often do. Nevertheless, that is the only authority that will never fail us, and we need to meditate on the importance of letting the Bible make our decisions for us, always giving its principles priority in our thought processes.
Generally speaking, most of us spend too much time comparing our own practice to that of other people. Rather than soberly studying the Scriptures, determining what is right, and then taking a courageous stand on our convictions, we keep at least one eye cocked in the direction of those around us. We want to know what they are doing — and whether their practice compares favorably or unfavorably to our own actions.
And if that were not bad enough, we then go to two extremes with our comparisons. Either we judge that our neighbor is doing better than we are (and we become jealous), or we judge that we are doing better than our neighbor (and we become proud). In all of these comparisons, we tend to forget that the only thing that really matters is what God’s word says.
Whether we or anybody else has been doing right or wrong up in the past, we can be sure that the Scriptures reveal the infallibly right course of action for everybody right now. Steering by an uncertain, error-prone standard will not get us to the destination we desire. Only the perfect authority of God’s truth will do that. Before it’s too late, let’s resolve that, whatever anybody else may be doing, we will search the Scriptures to settle matters of right and wrong.