Examine Your Religious
Practices in Light of New Testament Teaching

by John Hains

The standard of what is acceptable in religion for many is whether it satisfies the individual. Many "shop" for a religion that meets their personal preferences, treating the Scriptures as a food and salad-bar, picking things they like and passing over things they dislike. One of the things that my family and I have enjoyed about moving from Canada to the United States is all the different places that you can go out to eat. The Old Country Buffet is one of our favorite places to go after our Lord's Day morning worship. But, I must say to you that there are some things on the food bar that I just pass over. Many declare satisfaction with the course they have chosen in religion without ever considering the question, "Is God satisfied with my religion?" The whole conclusion is not, serve God as you please, but "Fear God and keep His commandments" (Eccl. 12:13). Our purpose in daily activities and in worship should be to strive to please God. Those who truly seek to serve God will not be satisfied until they do this. We must be willing to test our practices and beliefs to see if they agree with the Scriptures. "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves" (2 Cor.13:5).

The only way to please God in all that we do is to follow His revealed will--to simply read and study the Scriptures and follow them in all we do, not adding to them or taking away (2 John 9; Deut. 4:2). Those who fail to do this lack respect for the authority of God as Lord and Master. As 1999 is now upon us, let us resolve to examine all that we do in light of what God says and not what we think. The inspired apostle declared, "And whatsoever ye do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord" (Col.3:17). To "do all in the name of the Lord" means to respect the authority of the Lord in everything. We must have God's authority for all that we do and that authority must be established from the Scriptures; for it is there that God has revealed His will for us.

So, our personal morality, conduct, religious beliefs, and things practiced in worship must be based on New Testament book, chapter, and verse. One may be satisfied with the manner in which they live and worship, while God may not be, making life and worship worthless before the Lord. As Jesus warned, "This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matt. 15:8,9).

It is not necessary for me to resolve for 1999 to learn to like those foods that I have passed over in the year past, but it is absolutely necessary for me to come to respect all that God commands. It is not up to me to pick and choose what I like or dislike when it come to the faith and practice of my spiritual convictions. Therefore, let us search the Scriptures to establish authority for all that we believe and practice showing respect God's authority in 1999 and as long as life shall last.

[Editor's Note: Thanks to John Hains for the article! John can be reached at 7630 Newbury Road, Tipp City, Ohio 45371,(937) 669-4049]

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