Who has the final say in your life?
“Just because that's how it's done doesn't mean that's how it should be done,” Cinderella declares to the prince in the live action remake of Disney’s classic cartoon.
We’ve all felt that way at one time or another. And God could declare the same as He watches us govern one another and build societies. For example, not too long ago, it was illegal for interracial couples to marry or for women to own property. While we know these attitudes are wrong and unbiblical, at one time many people held firmly to these beliefs.
Have you ever wondered how that happens? How do intelligent, God-fearing people believe something so contrary to the Gospel?
Many ideas are touted as biblical truth when they actually contradict the Bible. We have to know the difference and decide which voice of authority we’re going to listen to — what people say is right, or what Jesus says is right. The consequences of that choice affect our quality of life now and eternally.
Two Conflicting Sources of Authority
1. Popular Opinion
It is easy to believe the opinions we see on social media or the voices we hear on the news, but what’s popular is not always biblical. A lot of what God says is unpopular today. Forgiving those who hurt us, putting others first, staying married for a lifetime — these are all biblical commands that won’t win you any points with someone who is ready to leave their spouse.
God isn’t trying to win a popularity contest. He doesn’t care if we don’t like what He says or if we think He’s being mean or old fashioned. Ultimately, God cares about our holiness. His people were called to live differently from the rest of the world. Every one of His commands exists for our good and for His glory (1 Peter 1:15-16).
God knows that what’s popular is not always what’s best. Sometimes, what’s popular is actually destructive — no matter how good it makes us feel in the moment.
2. The Bible
God promises good things for us, but each promise has a premise: We must believe what God says and obey His Word. Even when God’s Word contradicts others’ opinions, we can trust God as the ultimate authority in our life because of who He is and who we are to Him.
God is a good and loving father who wants what’s best for His kids (Matthew 7:11). God also understands more than we do, and He guides us accordingly (Psalm 119:68).
We don't need to be tossed by the waves of public opinion or trapped in the shifting sands of social media. When we aren’t sure what to believe, Jesus’ brother, James, reminds us that we can ask God for wisdom:
“If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who ‘worry their prayers’ are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open” (James 1:6-8, The Message).
Because of Who God is, We Can Trust His Authority
God’s love for us assures us that everything He tells us is for our ultimate good. We aren’t required to understand all of God’s commands, we are called to trust Him and obey Him.
Obedience might mean sacrificing followers on Instagram and likes on Facebook, but it results in an abundant life. When we know who God is, trust comes naturally, and our obedience will give us peace instead of turmoil and confidence in the future.