“Mommy, look!” my young son yelled down the stairs to me after a few minutes of being left alone in his room with his little brother. By this point, I was a mom of two, so I knew that “Mommy, look!” could reveal something cute or something destructive. It was the latter. My darling older son had colored all over the wall next to his bed. He had recently learned to draw hearts, and was so proud to show me the hearts he had drawn on his wall. When I entered the room and saw his artwork, he exclaimed, “I draw hearts for you, Mommy, because I love you!”. He was doing what was right in his own eyes.
While it’s cute that he said he did it because he loved me, he was also old enough to know better. He was not honoring me with his choice. When I asked him why he drew on the wall (even though he knew that he wasn’t supposed to) he told me that his little brother had done it. At this point I noticed the other wall. Thus, my son’s justification for wall art was because of his brother’s own “masterpiece” on the opposite wall.
I was reminded of this incident recently while reading through Matthew 15. Verses 8-9 say, “This people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” See, the pharisees and scribes had a similar mindset to that of my son: Do what seems right in one’s own eyes and the people (his brother) around next to him. David Guzik, in his commentary on Blueletterbible.com puts it this way, “They elevate man’s tradition to an equal level with God’s revealed Word.” They were not interested in following God’s commands. Their hearts were far from God. They had made idols of themselves, as all of us a prone to do.
If you look around at the culture of Christianity in America today, you may see the same thing. There is a popular trend of “deconstructing” amongst some who claim Christ, in which they question their faith and historic Christianity. Unfortunately, this often leads them to buy into what is termed “progressive Christianity”, which barely looks like Christianity at all. It may lead to other gods or idols, or just flat-out materialistic atheism.
How does this happen, you might ask. Because those who are questioning their faith often look for answers in the wrong places. They look to culture. They ask questions and seek answers from the world, not Scripture or faithful teachers. What they’re left with is a Christianity of their own making, which may make them feel good for a time, but is ultimately empty. Just like my son, they look for direction from people who are as lacking in understanding as they are. They have become students to the blind.
We all have questions– that’s a good thing! We should love God with our hearts and our minds. When questions arise, we must be careful about who and where we look for answers. It is helpful to seek wise counsel from a trusted teacher, but we must remember that Scripture is our ultimate authority. Therefore, we need to study it and know it well. As Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight”. How are you studying Scripture this week? Where are you going to look for answers to your tough questions?