We sometimes pretend that something is different from what it really is and hope that somehow it will become what we have called it. For example a small boy wants a horse. He finds a broomstick and straddles it and calls it a horse and, to him, it becomes a horse. We are wise if we confine this to childhood and with the Apostle Paul say, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” 1 Corinthians 13:11
Do we, sometimes, permit this child’s play to persist into adulthood?
These days our laws have made progress in making sure that the products we buy are clearly labelled. The manufacturer must list all the components of the product. If a jumper is made purely of wool, the label must tell us, but if it isn’t the label lists all the yarns used.
When it comes to worshipping God, we must be accurate and call things by their true names. So often we hear that every man has a right to worship God as he pleases. However, just saying this does not make it so. Man has a right to worship God only in the way God Himself has appointed. To say that we are free to worship God as we see fit is not true, just as if our saying that the broomstick is a horse actually turns it into a horse!
Jesus Christ told the religious leaders of His day, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honours me with their lips but their heart is far from me. In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” Mark 7:6-7
God’s promise of salvation lies in calling things by their true names. We have to read the Bible as it was written, “…Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes by someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man; but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1: 20-21
We are not free to worship God as we see fit. We must worship Him as He has commanded. To find His commands, we must go to our Bibles with our minds ready to accept His teachings as they are written. To impose our private interpretations on God’s Holy Word, the Bible or to allow someone else to read it and tell us what to believe is disastrous. We must never replace Bible teaching with the doctrines of men.
When it comes to something as important as our eternal welfare, let us put away childish ideas and call things by their true names. Certainly we do not want to be found in the position of those who were condemned by Jesus when he said, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? ……for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.” Matthew 15:3, 6
So, let us worship God, not as we see fit but as He commanded us. Let us search the Scriptures daily so that we will be numbered among those “…who feared the Lord and spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed His name. They shall be mine, says the Lord of Hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession and I will spare them, as a man spares his son who serves him.” Malachi 3:16-17