God's Will for You Today, Part Six Do As The Bereans!
1Thesselonians 5: 21 - Test everything. Hold on to the good.
We often lament our seeming inability to discern the will of God for our lives. We can find ourselves facing life changing decisions and seeking the will of God only to hear nothing. Too often, we have decided and then seek "confirmation" as opposed to seeking the will of God before making decisions. The bible is filled with direction on the will of God but nowhere does it seem clearer then in Paul's closing remarks to the Church at Thessalonica (1st Epistle). As the Apostle Paul is signing off his letter, he provides seven instructions which he refers to as, "God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Seven of course is God's number of perfection and each of these imperatives are given their own separate verse, even though they are contained within only two sentences. No matter what circumstance you may face in your life, you can match it up with these seven imperatives to discover the will of God for you in Christ Jesus!
When the Apostle Paul was on his missionary journeys he once
came to the city of
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men. Acts 17: 11-12
The Bereans represented how God wants us to approach His word and our walk with Him. It is the will of God for your life that you should test everything. How do we test everything beloved? By examining it in light of the Word of God. We were meant to be of more noble character. We were meant to receive the Word with great eagerness but not to accept everything blindly. Instead we are meant to examine the Word of God to ensure what we are being told is accurate. Jesus warns us against false prophets:
"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' Matthew 7: 15-23
Strong words of warning from our Lord. Far too often these days we set our sights upon man and not God. We elevate the preacher to a pedestal he cannot possibly live up to. When he falls then our faith is somehow shattered. It is shattered because we placed our faith in the man of God and not God Himself. This is not the will of God for our lives. We are to test everything and keep only the good. The modern church is littered with stories of abuses by people who came in the name of God but clearly only served themselves. People being fleeced for their savings, paying for fake healings, magic water or prayer cloths. Not only do these wolves damage those who are taken in by their smooth words but the hypocrisy is not lost on the world, who is looking for a reason to doubt. Our responsibility is greater than that. It is greater than ourselves and our situations.
Test everything brethren. You were not meant to be passive observers in your own salvation. You were meant to grow spiritually; to mature in Christ. We were not meant to sit in a pew until Christ returns. There are too many "feel-good" preachers today who preach a one-sided Gospel. The result is a spiritually immature Christian. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul speaks to the desire for maturity amongst the body:
until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4: 13-16