I love reading biographies. There is something about reading another person’s story that often causes you to understand your own thinking in a way that you have never perceived before. Last summer I read an autobiography of a man who was struggling with a particular moral decision. It was a gripping book and I found myself wanting to cry as I read parts of his story. There was one part in particular that sent shivers down my spine. It was when the author decided to go against Scripture, and go with his ‘feelings’ concerning the moral decision he was facing. He said he just had such a peace about it and ‘knew’ that God must have given him that peace. In the book, his moral decision led him into further sin and will eventually lead to death if he does not repent. I was sobered, because if I am very honest with myself, I have seen the same temptation to follow my own feelings in determining right and wrong.
Whenever something other than God’s Word becomes the foundation upon which we build reality, we depart from reality. This kind of moral confusion is the air that our culture breathes. Even Christians are in danger of being swayed by it. But the church must rely on the solid ground of the Word of God.
The Heart that Deceives
Most who are alive today have heard the mantras, ‘follow your heart’; ‘let the desires of your heart lead you’; ‘look to yourself for wisdom and believe in yourself’. These mantras all tell us that what feels right is right. This is how the world determines morality. The world believes that meaning and right action are found within a person’s own heart. If you dig deep enough, you’re going to find it. But Jeremiah 17:9 shows us that the exact opposite is true. It says that the heart is deceitful above all things. It is not to be trusted.
The Word that Guides
If mankind is filled with corruption and confusion, we must look outside of ourselves to find truth. We must look to God’s personal communication to mankind, the Holy Scriptures. Christians must be men and women of the Word. We must drink deeply of the commands and statutes of our God as he has clearly revealed them to us in Scripture. God and his commands are where true wisdom and guidance for life is found. Psalm 119 lays this out in a compelling manner,
9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
13 With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
14 In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.
The psalmist gives a beautiful picture and helpful instruction on what it looks like to run after wisdom and obedience to God:
- We must guard our ways according to God’s Word. Examine your life in accordance to Scripture. Do you seek to repent of sinful thinking and actions and instead obey his commands?
- We must seek God with our whole heart so that we might not wander away from his commands. Wandering in disobedience is very difficult if you are busy keeping your eyes on Jesus and his finished work on the cross.
- We must store up God’s Word in our hearts by reading and memorizing Scripture on a daily basis so that we might not sin but instead obey God’s commands and remember his faithfulness.
- We must declare God’s rules and testimonies to other believers and to the whole world. It is fitting for us to speak truth to one another in the church, and also to all men and women so that they might repent and believe and also see Jesus as Lord.
- We must delight in God’s Word so that we may never forget it. It is very hard to forget something if you are continually drawing joy and delight in it.
- We must meditate on his precepts and fix our eyes on his ways. We do this by thinking deeply when we read Scripture and fighting against our wandering and easily distracted minds.
In matters of morality, believers need to be exercise discernment with precision. The way we do this is by not asking ‘how do I feel about this’ or ‘how does the world perceive these issues’ but ‘what does Scripture have to say about this’. Feelings and opinions sway and change with time, but the Word of our God stands forever (Isa 40:8).
Amber Komatsu graduated from Boyce College in 2013 with a B.S. in Christian Ministry and an emphasis in Biblical Counseling. She has worked as the Membership Services Coordinator at the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) since 2013. Amber and her husband Trevor reside in Louisville, KY and are members at Immanuel Baptist Church.