Do you pay attention to the instructions?

Can you recite the safety speech flight attendants give before every airplane takes off? I’d be willing to bet I can probably tell you everything they say and even pantomime their motions, and I’m not even what you would call a jetsetter.

Most people tune them out completely. Most people stay buried in their phones or tablets and ignore them. After all, what they’re saying is common knowledge, isn’t it? Everyone knows the safety regulations on an airplane, don’t they?

I’ve never read the seatback information card on a plane. I’ll admit it. I already know the basics. But what would happen if someone told me that I needed to help the child sitting next to me with his mask first in an emergency? What if that person told me I was honor bound to help the less able around me before I take care of myself? I’m a Christ-follower, and I’m supposed to put others before myself.

Doesn’t that make sense? Never mind the flight attendant says to get yourself settled before you try to help the person next to you.

Today’s verse is Hebrews 2:1.

The seatback information card on my flight to Chicago, Wichita, KS

The seatback information card on my flight to Chicago, Wichita, KS

So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.

The devil’s in the details. It’s an old saying, but it’s true. You can think you’ve got everything right. You can think you’ve handled every issue, but you usually always miss some small, pesky detail that screws the whole project up. And the same is true when it comes to our faith.

Sure, you can get the big picture right. You can live your life according to the major tenants of what the Bible says, but the details matter too. The details of the Christian life often affect the big picture more than we think they do.

Example? Say you believe that murder is wrong. It’s wrong to kill someone because the Bible says it’s wrong. But that’s a broad subject. Let’s get specific about murder. Let’s get down to the details. What do you believe about abortion? Does your belief about murder match up with your belief about abortion? Because the Bible is pretty clear on both. The Bible calls murder the ending of someone’s life unjustly, and the Bible also says that life begins at the moment of conception. And what’s more unjust than ending the life of an innocent who can’t even fight back?

I’m not trying to start an argument. I’m just trying to make a point. You can believe that murder is wrong all day long, but if you pay attention to the details of what the Bible says, that means you should also believe that abortion is wrong. If you don’t, you’re a hypocrite—picking and choosing what you like about the Bible and dismissing what you don’t.

The Bible doesn’t work that way. God doesn’t work that way. We don’t get to approve or disapprove of God’s plans. He’s God. He does what He wants, and He is gracious enough to include us on some of what He’s doing in the world. Just because you disagree with Him doesn’t make Him wrong. And it sure doesn’t make you right.

It seems to me that every street is lined with people who would twist the Christian faith to fit their own purposes. Every day there’s someone on television or radio who’s claiming something that the Bible never promises or quoting scriptures God never inspired. And it’s more important than ever to pay attention to what the Bible actually says.

Don’t just listen to the next person who comes along. Don’t even listen to me. Like I blogged about earlier in the week, you need to take responsibility for your own faith, because at the end of days when you stand before God Himself, you won’t be able to shift blame on anyone else. You’ll have to stand on your own, and if you don’t have Jesus, you really will be on your own.

Every American has heard the truth in some form or other. Americans are without excuse, more than any other nation in the history of the world. We have freedom. We have churches on every corner. We have Bibles gathering dust on our coffee tables.

So listen carefully. Pay attention. Don’t just ignore the safety demonstration when God decides to give it. Don’t shove the seatback card in the pocket and plug your earphones in while the plane burns up around you.

Listen up. Speak out. And don’t back down, especially when you’re faced with people who treat the Bible like it’s some kind of tree that only produces good fruit half the time.

Jellyfish at the Omaha Zoo, Omaha, NE

Take responsibility for what you believe

Does anyone else have to rely on GPS or mapping services like MapQuest or Google Maps to get around? I’m not ashamed to admit that I do. I’m one of those people.

Now, I don’t need them in Wichita, generally. If I know the area, I can pretty much figure out how to get there, but I’m familiar with Wichita streets. But in another city? Like Chicago, where I’m at right now? I’m at the mercy of whatever mapping program is most convenient.

And that means I have to trust whatever information it gives me because I don’t know any better. For all I know, the map I’m reading to could be completely off base. It might be entirely incorrect. And I might be heading in a direction that will cause me a lot of trouble.

Today’s verses are Galatians 1:6-7.

Jellyfish at the Omaha Zoo, Omaha, NE

Jellyfish at the Omaha Zoo, Omaha, NE

I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.

I don’t think I’ve ever used the same Bible verse twice in a row on AlwaysPeachy. But every now and then, more than one concept in a verse strikes me when I read it.

I guess what really stood out to me here was that even in the days of the early Church, there were still people who were trying to dilute the Truth of God’s Word. You’re always going to find those people in any sort of religious institution. The naysayers. The nitpickers. The backstabbers and bickerers.

It’s not limited by denomination, but they do seem to come out of the woodwork in churches that are really making a difference for Christ.

What amazes me is that their fake gospel isn’t always easier than what Jesus originally brought. There are some who come into a church to lead it astray who bring the whole concept of the prosperity gospel. Those are the folks who say if you believe hard enough and do everything God says, He’ll give you everything you as for. And there’s no biblical basis for that.

But then there are the folks who come in and say you have to dress and act a certain way in order for God to accept you. You  have to keep traditions and live by rituals and all that in order to be loved. And there’s no basis for that in the Bible either.

You just have to make sure you always check your sources. If there’s someone in the church you respect and love and they have acted like a mentor to you, that’s wonderful. And you should seek out those relationships. But don’t for a moment think they are always right. Don’t for an instant believe your pastor is always right.

You are responsible for your own faith, and if your faith is misplaced, it’s nobody’s fault but yours.

Where do you check? Well, I can tell you issues of faith are easier to verify than a mapping program. For MapQuest and Google Maps, generally you just have to get there to figure out that the program is wrong. For faith, you have a Bible. You have access to the Scriptures.

Read them. Make it a habit. Do Google searches for keywords. And ask the person who’s telling you what they believe where they learned it.

I’m not saying to suspect everyone of heresy. By no means. But we all need do start taking responsibility for what we believe. If we can do that, not only will our faith be sure, but it’ll be stronger and it’ll be our own.