While taking a trip down memory lane recently, I suddenly came across a fearful memory lodged there. When I was three, I was in a busy store with my parents, holding on to my mother’s hand, when I looked up and saw it was not my mother. I think the woman was as startled as I was. Panic time! In a few moments my father found me and I was safe, but with a lifelong memory of holding on to the wrong hands.
Strangely this happens to many of us in life. We get separated from the path we are on and attach ourselves to the wrong hand for a guide. This is especially true when it comes to moral and spiritual matters. Whenever we feel that this has happened, it may be time to look up and see where we are and who we are attached to.
In the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation, God gives a message to seven churches in Asia Minor—a message that was intended to go beyond that time, applying to the history of His Church as well. His specific message to the sixth of those churches, the church at Philadelphia, was to “hold fast” to the truth (Revelation 3:11), and to strive never to lose the crown that was promised through God’s calling. These were people who were zealously holding on to the right guidance in their love for God and His people.
However, as God gives the final message to the final church, the one that came after Philadelphia, He warned that they had lost their way and become “poor, blind, and naked” while believing they were not. Many of the early Christians of this time fell away from the truth, compromised, and followed “false apostles” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15) into a Christianity which had only the semblance of godliness but “denied the power” thereof (2 Timothy 3:5). Much of the confusion and division of modern “Christianity” is now the result, generations later.
During that early time, when the church was first founded, there were many called out, but “few chosen” (Matthew 20:16). Relatively few follow up or take seriously their calling. The Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:18 explains that the truth is sown like seed and some fall in places it will grow while some fall on stony ground and live a short life. Many called out individuals thought they were staying with the truth still strayed and found new hands to hold on to. Such is the condition of Christianity today, and of many people even in the one true Church of God. As we draw closer to the end of this age it would be wise to check and see whose “Christianity” we are looking up to, and whose hand we may be holding—to examine our faith and use the Bible to discern how closely we follow God’s instructions (2 Corinthians 13:5).
We are reminded in 1 John 2:15-16: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” The three warnings here are things that make us feel good, things that we see and want, and feelings of power or ownership. We find too often in life we chase after these things and desert what is truly important—sometimes without even realizing that we are doing so. We let go of the hand holding us and mistakenly take hold of another.
It is very important in this short, busy life to look up occasionally and see whose hand you are holding. Are you grasping on to the truth, or, as with my childhood memory, are you hanging onto something else without even realizing it, something “disqualified” as per the warnings of the Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 13:6)?