Gimme That Old-Time Religion


When my children were babies, I placed them on their stomachs to sleep. The thinking at that time was that lying that way would prevent a baby from strangling on its own vomit. But doctors no longer tell parents that.  Now they say that a baby should sleep on its back because it helps prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Who knows?

When my mother was a young woman, a doctor told her she should smoke cigarettes to help her breathe. We now know, of course, that his was very poor advice.

My sister used to give her children baby aspirins any time they were fretful. Nobody thought back in the '60s when she was rearing her children than an aspirin could cause Reye's Syndrome.

Medical knowledge grows and changes. We learn more and more through research and technology. As we learn we change our practices to conform to the latest knowledge.

Some people think that religion works the same way.  They excuse any innovation that comes down the pike by saying, "Times have changed, people are different, we have to try new things to attract the younger generation, we must be progressive."

But we conservative Christians know better.  We seek the religion that was "...good for Paul and Silas, and it's good enough for me." Or do we?

Basically, we stand for the truth. I will grant that.  But what about the spirit? Do we have the spirit of the religion of Paul and Silas? If we were captured and put in prison because of our faith in Christ Jesus, would we be singing songs of praise at midnight, or would we be whining and complaining and wondering why God had forsaken us? Are we fair-weather Christians who serve God in times of plenty and then fall away from Him when times are rough and persecutions come knocking at our door?

Do we have the love for spreading the Word the way Paul and Silas and other early Christians did? Do we go about daily talking with our neighbors, seeking lost souls?  Do we love lost souls?  Do we care that they are lost?  Do we study the Word diligently so that we will have the knowledge to convict the gainsayers? Are we people of the Book?

Do we have the love for our fellow Christians that the early Christians possessed?  Would we sell our houses and lands to be able to provide for their needs? Would we sell a car?  Maybe a television set? Or are we just too busy collecting these material possessions even to think of selling any of them for the benefit of someone else?

Are we growing in the Lord?  Or are we standing still, or worse, going backward?  The story is told of a young boy who fell out of bed. When he woke up, he said, "I guess I stayed too close to where I got in at." Are we too close to where we got in? Are we still babes, when we should be full-grown men and women of the Lord?

"But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins" (II Peter 1:5-9).

If we would seek to be pleasing to our heavenly Father, then let us examine ourselves to see whether we are putting Peter's words into practice in our lives. Let us be growing in the knowledge of our Lord. Let us not stay too close to where we got in. Let us truly seek to exhibit in our lives the religion of Paul and Silas, Mark and Luke, and Peter, Andrew, James, and John.

That "old-time religion"--is it good enough for you?

from What About Brian, Chapter 1