“One of these things is not like the others…”
Photo by Meggito, used under CCA 2.0 license
One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong.
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?
~ Sesame Street song
Let me ask you something, is self-examination only to be done at Passover, or should we be doing it all of the time? While the secular year draws to a close, and I hope no one is out there celebrating New Year’s, which is just an extension of the pagan Christmas season. Yet, thee is nothing inappropriate about using the end of time marker to stop and reflect on what you are doing and why you are doing it.
Should we swallow anything anyone tells us, or should we be vigilant and on our guard at all times, no matter the source?
4 My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.
While The Message is a pretty loosey-goosey sort of translation, I think the above frankly and plainly illustrates the point. We are to examine, put to the test, hold up for scrutiny and analyze things using discernment.
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
The preceding verses indicate that the Church body is there to expound upon the Scriptures and keep us together in unity, but the main point I want to make is that it is a sign of spiritual immaturity to be jostled around by every doctrine that comes our way. The above makes it clear that controversies are created in order to deceive.
10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
Our fallback position needs to be the word of God. It was written down for a reason. Spoken speech is easily misunderstood, garbled with the retelling and subject to the whims and desires of the one doing the retelling. Written communication is more difficult to garble, although certainly not impossible. It takes more effort because copies will bear out the alterations. The Bible remnants left behind are in themselves remarkable, but I read somewhere once that 95% of the NT could be reconstructed just by using quotes from various Christian writers in the early centuries.
So, how is your discernment today? Do you really analyze what is being presented to you? Or, do you just accept someone’s words and let it go?
As Sl pointed out in the last version of this post, the following is very appropriate:
I have a lot more to say about this, but it is hard to get it across to you since you’ve picked up this bad habit of not listening. By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one—baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways; solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong.