(Editor’s note: This is part two of a two-part series.)
Some fall into the trap of believing only in themselves rather than God.
Much of this comes from the humanistic teaching done in our schools today. Our young people are faced with instructors who do not believe in the Bible. Generations are being reared to believe that man has all the answers.
This false idea makes it difficult for religious teaching to be accepted. Thousands, even millions, search for peace and happiness by their own means. Jeremiah wrote, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). If man trusts only in his steps for guidance, there will be no moral or ethical direction for him to follow. As in the days of the Judges, “…every man will do what is right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Friends, we must learn to trust in God and his promises.
Placing trust in those who claim to follow God also is a problem. This comes about when people do not study God’s word for themselves. False teachers and deceivers have been around since the Garden of Eden, and time and time again, God warns of their dangerous existence.
John set forth such a warning: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). He was instructing people to make sure the teacher was true.
Man needs to get back into the habit of studying God’s word. Many believe they are studying when, in fact, they are only reading verses. They then look to someone to give them the understanding and accept what they are told without checking the Scripture themselves. Society wants everything to be quick and easy.
True study of the Bible is not this way. It takes time to really study God’s word. When one looks at a passage, one should determine certain things about it: who is speaking, to whom is the author speaking, what dispensation of time is being talked about, etc.
The Bereans still serve as the example of how one should listen to any proclaimer of the word. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). If a person never checks to see if the things being taught are true, they can end up believing a lie.
Men are just that — men. They can make mistakes and teach false doctrine. God’s people must know what is in the Bible. The prophet Hosea wrote of God’s people in his day, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). Paul wrote to the young man Timothy, “Study to show thyself approved unto God…” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Relying only on a preacher or teacher for the truth of the Bible should not be done. When one learns to fully trust in God — rather than money or self or in other men — he or she then will be able understand what it means to be happy.
They will be able to look beyond this world and its sorrows to the heavenly land promised to all God’s faithful.