"When we think, we generally use concepts that we have not invented ourselves but that reflect the shared understandings of our community" (White, 2015).
The question we need to ask ourselves is how much the Bible guides us and how much we are guided by our local culture (beliefs, behaviours, objects etc) and our own desires. We are told to,
(1) Begin with Prayer to God
Ask for guidance "Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6). Develop Godly wisdom "But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without doubting" (James 1:5-6).
(2) Explore the True Bible Message
Basic guidance We are reminded that - "Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counsellors they succeed" (Proverbs 15:22). The Bible provides clear directions about all aspects of our life through laws, principles and the lived experience of people over 4,000+ years. Our best counsellor is the Holy Scriptures, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path (Psalm 119:105). "Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves" (Matthew 10:16) We need to review the whole of God's message for advice and guidance. Let's look at just one small but powerful example. In Genesis 9:3 God tells Noah that "every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood". A basic Bible principle. Many thousands of years later the Bible records the Apostle Paul under inspiration advising Christian believers that:
- "if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble" (1 Corinthians 8:13) and
- "It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles" (Romans 14:21).
Here we have a related Bible principle. We are clearly advised that if something we desire to do will weaken the faith of your brother or sister, we are to abstain.
(3) Trust, Acknowledge and Fear God
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own estimation; fear the Lord and turn away from evil" (Proverbs 3:5-7 NET). "For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Romans 15:4). Let us explore, reflect and see how we can apply biblical principles to our life.