Sharing by: Pam Crawford
1 Thessalonians 5:19-22
“Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt.
Test everything. Hold onto the good. Avoid every kind of evil.”
Looking out into the world today it appears that we may be headed down a very dangerous path. Independent, self-oriented individuals seem to be falling into the trap of embracing the next best thing that comes along. It is also quite evident that some people have fallen away from the principles introduced by the founding fathers/mothers of this great country. These principles were derived from their dependence, not independence, of the Word of God. They valued their Bible and used it as a daily guidepost.
Guidepost: “anything serving as a guide; guideline.”
In America we don't seem to be anchored to any one particular guidepost. In fact, it seems to be a bit of a free-for all out there. With so many choices, how does one select correctly? May I suggest that when it comes to religion, God, and the Bible, we don’t fall prey to the next best sounding idea? It is important that we check out the theories against the Scriptures. This is what Jude (Jesus’ half-brother) was telling the people in his short, one-chapter portion of the New Testament. Within his writings he warns about sin and the doom of godless men, the danger of false teachers, a call to persevere, and the duty to fight for God’s truth. He was reminding the church of the need to be vigilant, to remain strong in faith, and to oppose heresy. I believe we could benefit from this reminder today.
Heresy: “opinion or doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted doctrine, especially of a church or religious system.”
With so much religious “doctrine” and personal opinion in our world today, it is important that we understand what Jude was attempting to teach. According to commentary, he was trying to get people to understand that the Bible is not to be compromised because it gives us real facts about Jesus and our need for salvation. The Apostle Paul also taught young Timothy this truth. In 2 Timothy 3:16, we are told that the Word of God (the Bible) was inspired by God for the purpose of teaching, rebuking and correcting. It sounds to me that this Word of God is not something to be twisted and manipulated to fit into ones agenda.
Doctrine: “ a particular principle, position, or policy taught or advocated, as of a religion or government.”
Life’s Application Commentary:
By warning us not to “stifle the Holy Spirit,” Paul means we should not ignore or toss aside the gifts the Holy Spirit gives. We should also not stifle the Holy Spirit’s work in anyone’s life but encourage the full expression of their gifts to benefit the whole body of Christ.
We shouldn’t make fun of those who are called to speak for God, but we should always “test everything that is said,” checking their words against the Bible. We are on dangerous ground if we scoff at a person who speaks truth. Instead, we should carefully check out what people say, accepting what is true and rejecting what is false.
I am grateful for the gift of encouragement and the ability to share forward what God has been teaching me. However, like any student I may not always get it right and thus the point of checking it against Scripture. If something doesn’t sit right with you, go before God and ask Him to clarify it through His Word. That’s exactly what I do. Who better to ask than the One who inspired the writings of His Holy Word? I will never be offended that you allow God to interpret that of what He has given me to share.
Additional Scripture Reading: Jude 1 and 2, Ephesians 4:30-32, 1 Corinthians 14
Heavenly Father, it is almost impossible to avoid every form of evil and the lure of temptation in this world. Help us to avoid giving into the temptations that keep us bound to sin. May we not give Satan a foothold into our life by hanging onto things that we know are not part of Your will for our life. Give us a desire to get into Your Word on a regular basis so that we can recognize when we are in danger of living outside Your will. Help us encourage those who are willing to teach, but may we never be deceived by wrong doctrines. Prompt us in the inner parts of our being if something is wrong so we can check it out for our self. In Jesus’ name we pray believing we will have Your very best. Amen!