“Test everything, hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.”
1 Thessalonians 5:21, NIV
Paul writes these words as an instruction – not just good advice! We are commanded to be sure to test all things so that we can avoid the dangers of being deceived. If we fail to test things we could be in danger of falling into deception. And one of the commonest deceptions is to think that it’s OK for us to reinterpret the Word of God to make it mean what we want it to mean!
The last part of our Scripture simply tells us to avoid every kind of evil – for Paul knew that if we fall into the practice of sin then God’s spirit within us will be quenched and it will affect our relationship with Him. Proverbs 3:7 & 8 puts it even more strongly. Here it says “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and avoid evil. This will bring heath to your body and nourishment to your bones.” From this we understand that there can be a relationship between the way we live and our consequential health!
If we truly have a holy fear of a holy God, then we will not want to live our lives outside the provisions of God’s Word. He has given us the Scriptures so that we will know the truth – and then Jesus said, “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
So when it comes to testing things – the first place we should go to test whether or not something is of God – is the Word of God. If we find that what we are thinking about or doing is contrary to Scripture, then we can be sure it has failed the test. We can hold on to those things that are good and are of God, but if it is clear from God’s Word that something is not of Him and is sinful, then the instruction is clear – in both Paul’s teaching and the Proverbs, avoid it!
Prayer: I’m sorry, Lord, for the times when I have not avoided doing what know is wrong according to Your Word. Help me Lord to remember to test things carefully against your Word so that I can hold on to what is good and avoid what is bad. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.