Free at Last

“Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.” – Psalm 51:6 (NASB)

God desires truth.  Other translations say He delights in truth.  More than that, He requires truth:

“…true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” John 4:23-24

The worship of God must be done in truth.  To worship God through a lie is worthless, and to worship Him consciously in a lie is pure disobedience – that is, sin.

Several years ago I believed that the day on which one worshipped with a body of believers didn’t matter. On Halloween I dressed up, but only as nice things like Minnie Mouse. Dressing up like a witch was far too worldly.   I knew Christmas, Easter, and Halloween were originally pagan, but I used them to worship God (the baskets and stockings full of candy and gifts lent themselves to my worship.) I knew these holidays weren’t celebrated in the Bible, but who was I not to dedicate a day to Christ’s birth? He’d be glad I was dedicating and worshipping Him on a day pagans intended for their idols. Take that, Satan.

Do you remember the story of the golden calf?  While Moses received the Ten Commandments from the Lord the people built a golden calf and worshipped at it.  They knew that calf was not God.  They had JUST built it with their own hands.  But they modeled their worship after the pagans.  Sure, they intended it for God, but it was outside of His truth and it was rendered unacceptable, stirring up the anger of the Most High God.

Deuteronomy 12:30-32 tells us:

“…beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?’ You shall not behave thus toward the Lord your God, for every abominable act which the Lord hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.”

Burning babies is a pretty bad way to worship the God that created them, but what’s wrong with putting candy in a sock and gifts under a tree?  Jeremiah 10 offers more insight into how pagans of the time worshiped.  It’s hauntingly familiar, and upon reading it one day my error struck me.

Our God is a God of order.  He appointed times for worship and celebration because it matters to Him.  They all have meaning and purpose and depth, they all reveal a part of Him. The Holy Days (Passover/Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Atonement, Trumpets, Tabernacles, Last Great Day ) are commanded by God to remember Him and His times.  Isn’t it odd that every other religion celebrates their own holidays except the Christians?  Isn’t it odd that all the holidays Christians celebrate are pagan holidays with a makeover?  Isn’t it odd that Christians, non-Christians, atheists, agnostics, etc celebrate the same holidays in more or less the same fashion?   You wouldn’t catch a devout Muslim celebrating Easter. Why? Because He understands that would be offensive to his god.

Two prevalent lies so many Christians believe is that God doesn’t care, and the Old Testament is for the Jews. The Old Testament is scripture and “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness…” 2 Tim 3:16.  The Lord commanded the Holy Days in Leviticus, but Jesus and the disciples all kept them.  Are we not to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 1:3)? God sent His own son down from glory to walk amongst sinners and then die for us because no amount of righteousness we could muster would ever come close to His perfect requirements.  That doesn’t sound like a God that doesn’t care.

Jesus lived a life of example, as did the disciples.  We are to model our lives after theirs, worshiping and rejoicing in spirit and in truth, not entangling ourselves in empty and vain idolatry.

“‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.'” John 8:31-32